The dance that spread Covid to half of the town.

The town of San Juan del Río lifted the sanitary measures to celebrate the Divine Infant Jesus.

OAXACA Mexico (El Universal) – It took 20 days for a celebration to turn into an emergency in San Juan del Río, a community in the municipality of Santiago Choápam, in the northern region. According to municipal authorities, in this town of 1,200 inhabitants, the Three Kings Day dance became the trigger for an outbreak of Covid-19, which has left so far 12 dead, 14 hospitalized, and 400 infected.

On January 5, the town lifted its sanitary filter and celebrated the Divine Infant Jesus to the rhythm of the Costa Brava band’s music from Veracruz. It did so as it does every year, with hundreds of people without masks or healthy distance, as shown in photos.

The first indications that this town was facing an outbreak of the virus came after applying rapid tests to 30 people, and 10 tested positive, including the medical staff of the health center who had to isolate themselves. What followed was fear, but not resignation.

According to official letter 39/2021, addressed to Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Governor Alejandro Murat, on January 28, Evergisto Gamboa Díaz, mayor of Choápam, warned that his community was facing this outbreak without medical personnel or medicines and that the population was locked in their homes and food was becoming scarce.

In response, he asked for a thousand vaccines, medical personnel, oxygen tanks, mouth covers, disinfectant, gel, protective equipment, brigades to take samples and food. A warning accompanied the request: “In the face of oblivion, poverty, and contempt, it is the same for us to die here in the city as in the mountains, for this reason, if there is no immediate response to this request, all those who tested positive and are in an asylum, we will move to the center of the capital to die in our abandonment in Oaxaca.”

According to Oaxaca’s Health Services, the request for help was attended almost in parallel; a brigade of two doctors and two nurses was mobilized, and protective and sanitation equipment arrived.

Juan Carlos Márquez Heine, State Health Secretary, explains that Choápam is the result of the New Year’s Eve and Epiphany celebrations, which saturated the health system, which went from having 280 people hospitalized in mid-December to 450 at the end of January.

The insistence of the communities complicates this to celebrate their patron saints’ feasts, increasing levels of stress and contagion, which unleashes a chain effect: “Instead of planning how to get out, we have to find out which communities have festivities to prepare ourselves so that within 15 days we can reinforce our work”, he declared.



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