Mexican health professionals complain the government moved too slowly to shut down business and stop the spread of the coronavirus. Doctors say hospitals around Mexico City are now at capacity.
Latin America is having a deadly second surge of the coronavirus. Mexico City officials have closed down all nonessential businesses and are pleading with citizens to stay home and not hold holiday gatherings. But as NPR’s Carrie Kahn reports, these orders may have come late.
The exhausted 27-year-old resident says, “admissions have soared in the past month. There are more patients than beds.” When he’s not at the hospital, he makes house calls to as many as 15 patients a day.
He says he went to see one patient recently and saw her oxygen level dangerously low. And just as she started his exam, she took a deep breath and died. Kahn says relatives are struggling to care for loved ones at home. Many fear government-run hospitals. Many more are getting turned away.
“No fiestas, no Christmas posada parties and no gatherings with friends or families,” urged Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum. But it wasn’t until December 18th that the government finally declared the capital a red zone, forcing a shutdown of all nonessential businesses. Wasn’t it a little it too late?
Many critics say the government waited too long to close down the capital. Mexico’s president repeatedly rails against measures that would hurt the economy. He’s called shutdowns the work of authoritarians and dictators.
“Administrators declared red inside the hospital and imposed stricter rules,” he says. “But outside, authorities kept things the same.” He’s worried about what happens after the holidays. His fear is shared by researchers at Stanford University and the CIDE Research Center here. They predict hospital capacity will be completely overwhelmed by the middle of next month.
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