Experts believe Mexico’s coronavirus cases could be 17 times higher than official tally

The Mexican government has said it assumes the true number of coronavirus cases in the country is eight times higher than what is officially reported, but experts believe the actual number of cases could be 17 times higher, Vox reports.

As of Wednesday, Mexico has reported 38,000 coronavirus infections and close to 4,000 deaths. Funeral home directors, mayors, doctors, and former officials have said they reported deaths that haven’t been reflected in the government’s tally; the mayor of Chimalhuacán told Al Jazeera the town had 87 coronavirus deaths, but the government “counted us as having 24 dead.”

It’s unclear if the discrepancy is due to inefficiency or if the numbers are deliberately being undercounted, Vox notes. “If Mexico is good at anything, it’s hiding numbers,” said Dr. Laurie Ann Ximénez-Fyvie of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. El País reports that Mexico, which has a low testing rate, likely has between 620,000 and 730,000 COVID-19 cases. “We don’t even know who the sick people are, and we don’t know where they are,” Ximénez-Fyvie said.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been criticized for his response to the coronavirus and accused of not taking it seriously. In late March, he traveled to several cities and met supporters, even shaking hands with the mother of convicted drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in Badiraguato. Read more about how the Mexican government is handling the coronavirus pandemic and the state of its health care system at Vox.

by Catherine Garcia for The Week

Source: The Week