The virus travels by the truckload on Mérida’s public transportation system

via : Diario de Yucatan

The negligent attitude of the authorities towards public transport has favored the explosive expansion of the coronavirus in Yucatan, says a researcher from UADY.

At least 500,000 Yucatecans use public transportation daily. These numbers, from before the pandemic, are well known.

“It is therefore incomprehensible that the state government did not think that by reopening the economy on June 15, half a million people – the vast majority of whom use public service buses and vans – would take to the streets”, says Dr. Luis A. Ramírez Carrillo, a researcher at UADY.

“No one doubts the need to reactivate economic activities… The bad thing was that no one on the team responsible for managing the pandemic raised a voice of alert. you didnt have to be a genius, a little common sense was more than enough, a very simple calculation, to come to the conclusion that many infected people would be roaming the streets of Merida”.

A worker from Merida who moves from East to West or from North to South, who arrives at the Center under obligation and has to ride at up to four stops, has about 240 personal contacts of less than one and a half meters, in just one day.

“The authorities never thought if this situation: if half a million people follow this logic of 240 contacts, we are talking about more than 100 million human contacts a day. It was like tossing a coin: even with just with 0.01% of contagion what happened was evidently going to happen”.

“The big mistake was in not preparing the reopening adequately, leaving prevention aside, as it has been throughout these six months of crisis management, “Dr. Ramirez added.

“Worried about defending the demand to return to the activity, “because people need to eat”, they forgot to inject a strategy with energy and money to reduce massive contact as much as possible, by the simple law of probabilities, was going to multiply the infections, first in Merida and then in the whole State”, Ramírez continued.

This is how we went from a stage of successful management of the pandemic to one of disastrous driving: from June 15th to July 15th the cases shot up and the situation became uncontrollable. “The intention in enacting the Dry Act and closing the beaches was to freeze the trends, which threatened to escalate. If things went well, by the last day of August we would have 1,500 dead… but it will not be like that anymore”.

“The measures of July 15 did not work because we had entered a stage impossible to control. What we are experiencing is the result of the great error of the opening of June 8 without the proper control, basically with public transport,” he considers.

“In large part because when the reopening was ordered, no action was taken with public transportation. Statements were made, it was said that there would be inspectors, but nothing really effective was done. They’ve been patching things up along the way, and every day the situation is getting worse.

“The control of public transport is in the hands of the state government, which establishes its rules of use and grants it to individuals. It requires political will that puts working-class people first, at least a medium administrative capacity to restructure a transport system that needs to be studied, but above all a little less arrogance and more responsibility from the state authorities, to open the imagination and propose new solutions. This is the only way to break the chain of contagion that has us, to date, overflowing and with currently 1,800 deaths”, Dr. Ramírez concluded.