The novel coronavirus has killed more than 100 health workers in Mexico, authorities said Monday, prompting continued concerns about the pandemic’s deadly toll on the country’s relatively small hospital workforce.
Hot spots around the world have also reported alarming fatalities in front-line personnel, but Mexico has far fewer doctors and nurses per capita than hard-hit countries such as Spain and Italy, The Washington Post’s Mary Beth Sheridan reported.
About half of all Mexicans rely on the Social Security Institute, a large, federally run health network, which employed 45 percent of those who died.
Although hospital beds and ventilators remain far from capacity, Mexicans have worried that spreading outbreaks in hospitals and a lack of protective equipment could impair their country’s pandemic response.
Hugo López-Gatell, Mexico’s assistant health secretary, said Monday that fatalities so far have included 66 doctors, 16 nurses and 29 other hospital staff, including employees such as lab technicians.
More than 8,500 medical workers have been confirmed to have the virus, although that figure jumps to more than 15,200 when counting suspected cases, including those still waiting on test results.
Yet Mexico will nonetheless take steps to reopen its economy at the end of the month, as López-Gatell suggested plans for a partial reopening would be announced in full later this week.
“It no longer makes sense to keep up nationwide social distancing restrictions,” he said on Twitter, “because of the notable disparity in the spread between regions.”
In five cities, the number of cases has been trending downward, while other cities are seeing infections climb, and some have reported no cases at all, he added.
The country’s total caseload stands at more than 36,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, although authorities have said that figure is probably an undercount due to a lack of widespread testing.