MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The confirmed coronavirus death toll in Mexico on Friday topped 70,000 after the government reported more than 500 new deaths, a grim milestone for a country among those most affected by the pandemic.
Making matters worse, excess mortality data from mid-March through early August indicates that the total number of deaths beyond the official count is likely tens of thousands higher.
Health officials late on Friday reported 534 new deaths linked to the virus, bringing the total to 70,183. Another 5,935 cases bring the total to 658,299.
The spread of the virus has ravaged an already ailing economy, which is now seen contracting by up to 13% this year, the deepest recession since the 1930s-era Great Depression.
Based on official data, Mexico is the nation with the fourth highest number of deaths globally, and the 13th highest on a per capita basis, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
But earlier this month, the health ministry said it recorded more than 120,000 “extra” deaths from mid-March through August 1. The measure compares mortality figures this year with a four-year average from 2015 to 2018.
Brazil remains No. 1 in Latin America, the region with the most infections globally, for both confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. It has posted a total of 4.2 million infections and more than 128,000 deaths so far.
In a sliver of good news, the rate of new cases in Peru, Colombia and Mexico has fallen slightly in recent weeks.
Overall, more than 900,000 people have died worldwide from the pandemic, with the deadliest outbreaks in the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia, Stefanie Eschenbacher and Sharay Angulo; Editing by Tom Brown and Sandra Maler)