Victoria records 16th straight day of no new cases; NSW aims for ‘gold standard’; Australia’s death toll sits at 90715th November 2020
Face masks, López-Gatell says, “are an auxiliary measure to prevent spreading the virus. They do not protect us, but they are useful for protecting other people.”
President Andres Manuel López Obrador almost never wears a mask, and López-Gatell only occasionally does.
Except science does not appear to be on their side. International experts have recommended mass testing, and say face masks protect both the wearer and other people.
“They say there is no evidence. No, excuse me, there is evidence,” said former health secretary Dr. José Narro.
“In May, we already began to have empirical evidence and well-documented scientific studies began to appear stressing the importance of face masks and the need for testing.”
“What I can say is the (government) strategy did not have the necessary flexibility to adjust to the increasing amount of knowledge” about the disease, Narro said.
In part that has been a hallmark of López Obrador’s administration: never back down, never change course, and if challenged, double down.
His main promise to Mexicans is that there would be enough hospital beds for everyone who needs one, and his government has largely fulfilled that basic promise — even if Mexicans are so afraid of those hospitals they often wait until the last moment to go for treatment, at which point, doctors say, it’s often too late. That fear was not unfounded; early in the pandemic, three-quarters of patients intubated and put on ventilators in Mexico’s largest hospital network died.
That resistance was what Mexico City human resources manager Lorena Salas felt when her 76-year-old father, Jaime Salas Osuna, began to show signs of what could be COVID-19.
“The idea was mainly to stay at home, no? Thinking of going to the hospital was not an option, we were terrified that there he would surely be infected,” Salas said.
Instead, she sped down to the resort city of Acapulco, where her father lived, and when she arrived, she found him thin, sweating and confused.
“At that moment the delivery service arrived with the oxygen meter, and his oxygen saturation was 77,” she recalled. (A normal reading is 93 to 98). “
At that moment I felt like a bucket of cold water had fallen on me. We just looked at each other. I said ‘Dad, do you have COVID?”
Salas drove him to Mexico City; he didn’t want to be intubated, but doctors explained they had to.
He underwent two operations, two intubations and struggled for 13 days before he died on Oct. 20.
To its credit, that is one of the few areas where the government’s public message has changed: where officials once urged people with the disease to stay home as long as possible, they now advise those over 60 or with risk factors like diabetes or obesity to seek treatment immediately.
But on most other points, the insistence that the rest of the world is wrong and Mexico’s approach is right appears to have taken a toll in lives.
On Sunday AEDT, Mexican Director General of Health Promotion Ricardo Cortés Alcalá announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had reached 1,003,253, with at least 98,259 deaths from COVID-19.