Distrust and rumors, the dangerous shadow of the coronavirus in Mexico

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The pandemic surprised the country with a deficit of 200,000 doctors and 300,000 nurses. And the poor care in hospitals aggravated the situation.

When Martín decided to go to the hospital, it was too late. The next day he died. The distrust in public health and rumors add more darkness to the pandemic in Mexico.

Martín Urdiain, 61, made a living as a mechanic in the neighborhood of Xochimilco, in Mexico City, until he fell ill with covid-19 along with his wife.

Symptoms worsened, but before seeking medical attention they tried to recover at home buying two mechanical fans for $ 3,400.

“My brother preferred to be at home, he had mistrust because he saw on the news about the saturation of the hospitals and the poor care, but in the end he felt worse and ended up going,” Alfredo Urdiain told AFP.

Martín died on June 17; his wife recovered without hospitalization.

Stories of people coping with the disease on their own, refusing to be transferred by paramedics, or end up dragged by infundios.

Public health in Mexico has been labeled inefficient for years. “We found a system in the ground”, says the leftist president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in power since 2018.

The pandemic surprised the country with a deficit of 200,000 doctors and 300,000 nurses, which forced the government to carry out massive hiring, refurbish a thousand hospitals and buy supplies with an investment of 1.9 billion dollars.

Avoiding stepping on the hospital, Jéssica Castillo, a 43-year-old confectioner, suffered seven days in her home in the state of Hidalgo (center), even with “suicidal thoughts”. “I felt that the air I was pulling in did not reach my lungs, but I said: ‘If I go to the hospital, I will not return,'” she told AFP.

Diabetic and hypertensive, she justifies her apprehensions in the poor care she received before the pandemic at the Mexican Institute of Social Security, which has 80 million affiliates.

“I don’t believe them. They have hurt me a lot physically and emotionally. I haven’t been going for like three years not even for medication for my diabetes, I prefer to buy them from the outside, “adds Castillo, who took more than a month to recover.

Mexico, of 128 million inhabitants, is the fourth country most mourned by the new coronavirus with 73,493 deaths and almost 700,000 infected, although its mortality rate per 100,000 inhabitants is the fourteenth in the world.

There is no record of the number of Mexicans who have preferred to recover or even die at home.

However, from mid-March to August 1, 122,765 more people died in 24 of 32 states in the country compared to the same period of the previous five years, according to the government. This “excess mortality” included all causes.

“For years we have this sick health system that does not have the necessary equipment,” Mayra Reyes, resident doctor at the General Hospital of Cuautitlán (State of Mexico), told AFP.

Witness that not all public centers have basic supplies like soap and water, Reyes comments that at the beginning of the year their hospital had “not even paracetamol.”

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