On 4 June Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that the sharp rise in coronavirus (Covid-19) deaths reported in the country the previous day was due to corrections to the death toll reported in the past few days, and should not produce alarm.
The announcement by the Mexican health authorities on 3 June that the Covid-19 daily death toll exceeded 1,000 for the first time produced serious concerns that the epidemic in Mexico is far from being under control, as claimed by the government, and that it is actually at its peak. This has in turn raised further doubts over the government’s decision to start easing the containment measures implemented to stop the spread of the virus and start resuming normal activities. López Obrador is keen to allay these concerns to maintain public confidence in his government.
- The 1,092 deaths and 3,912 new cases reported on 3 June were the highest figures registered since the start of the epidemic in Mexico. This death toll was much higher than the previous peak of 502 reported deaths on 26 May, while the number of cases exceeded 100,000 for the first time.
- This raised alarm that the outbreak could spin out of control with the easing of some of the containment measures under the government’s plan for a phased return to normal activity launched on 1 June. Epidemiologists noted Mexico’s daily death toll was the second highest in the world on 3 June, behind Brazil, and called for the easing of restrictions to be reviewed.
- But yesterday López Obrador downplayed the 3 June death toll. He said that the deaths reported that day had a not all happened in the previous 24 hours, but included fatalities that took place in previous days and which had not been appropriately recorded. He went on to say that while it is understandable that the increase in deaths is producing concern, “there should not be psychosis or fear” as the outbreak is “under control”.
López Obrador insisted that while saving lives is the priority, there is also a need for a gradual return to activities in support of the economy. But if the death toll continues to rise quickly, public opinion may turn against the government.
In brief: Mexico’s public deficit larger than projected, says think-tank
* The president of local think-tank Instituto para el Desarrollo Industrial y Crecimiento Económico (Idic), José Luis de la Cruz, has predicted that Mexico's public deficit will exceed M$600bn (US$27.5bn) in 2020. In a videoconference to discuss the effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the industrial sector, hosted by one of the country’s leading business organisations, the Confederación de Cámaras Industriales (Concamin), De la Cruz explained that each month there is a negative difference of M$25bn between money actually raised by the government, and the revenue it had expected. He cited the 19% contraction in real public revenue in April, with a 7.6% fall in non-oil revenues, a 15.3% fall in tax revenues, and a 26.2% fall in revenue from income tax. “We are talking about a recession, although that has not yet been formally recognised”, he concluded.