Mortality and covid-19 in Mexico and the USA

Alejandro Valle Baeza

The Mexican right wing has publicized that Mexico is one of the countries most affected by the covid-19 pandemic. The Reforma1 newspaper, for example, highlighted that Mexico ranked third in the case fatality rate (percentage of deaths among total patients), since nearly 12.4 percent of the patients had died as of the date of the report. Reforma has been distinguished by its conservatism and is one of the means that lead the attacks on the current Mexican government. The newspaper’s bias is obvious because, even today, that fact is not true. Today Mexico occupies the second place in a graph of a partial list of countries of the Johns Hopinks Uinversity, but according to the total data from the same source, Mexico actually occupies the fifth place of the 160 countries listed. The newspaper also did not mention that Mexico had until yesterday the 20th place in deaths from covid for every 100,000 inhabitants (covid mortality rate), since it has a lower rate than wealthy countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium or the United States of America (USA).

This last rate is calculated from the morbidity rate, the number of patients during a period between the total population and the case fatality rate:

Morbidity rate = Total number of patients / Total population x 100,000 = 167.4 per 100,000 inhabitants

Case-fatality rate = Sick dead / sick x 100 = 12.4%

Covid-mortality rate = Morbidity rate x case-fatality rate = 20.7 per 100,000 inhabitants

The correct description of the facts is as follows: Mexico occupies the twentieth place in the world in deaths from covid-19 (covid-deaths per 100,000 inhabitants) and the fifth place is the patients who died from said disease. The discrepancy is explained by the lower number of patients in the population. The data is not completely comparable between countries because the disease appeared earlier in some than in others.
Let’s see the comparison between Mexico and the US as of June 28, 2020:

So far there is a notable difference between the two countries, the USA has less than half of deaths among covid-19 patients than Mexico. However, the United States has nearly twice as many covid-deaths per100,000 inhabitants than Mexico. The discrepancy is explained by the higher morbidity in the United States, about 4 times that of Mexico. The highest case fatality is due to the fact that Mexico has high morbidity from diabetes and hypertension and from less effective hospital care. The higher US morbidity is explained by the earlier onset, in the US on 1/22/2020 and in Mexico on 2/27/2020; but also for the unequal health policies that have prevented infections (Trump’s government actions).

1Rolando Herrera ”Heads Mexico’s Lethality for Covid”, Mexico City, Reforma, 19-June-2020

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