Covid-19 was the second cause of death in Mexico during 2020. This was revealed this Thursday by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) in a preliminary report. The number of 201,163 deaths reported by the agency is 35% higher than the number reviewed by the Ministry of Health, which reported 148,629 occurred last year. Both data are correct and start essentially from the same source of information. The difference is explained because the data from the health authorities only considered deaths in hospitals, while the Inegi includes deaths from covid in other places. In fact, the Ministry of Health had already reported practically the same number in its statistics on excess mortality, which includes non-hospital deaths associated with the virus. What is relevant is that the new information confirms those estimates and gives a more complete picture of the impact of the pandemic in the country, pending the full report that will come out in October.
The still photograph that Inegi has taken reveals that the covid caused more deaths in men, with 64% of total deaths, than in women. The coronavirus was the leading cause of death in men: 129,329 died from covid-19. In contrast, 71,829 women died after contracting the virus, the third most recurrent reason in this case. By age groups, the numbers show that the covid was the main cause of death in the entire range from 35 to 64 years. In those over 65, only heart disease claimed more deaths than the coronavirus. Either way, the virus is in the top 10 causes for all age groups, even minors.
The report also reflects in figures how the epidemic affected each state. Mexico City, which has been the area most affected by the health crisis in terms of cases and deaths, especially due to its number of inhabitants and its population density, had 32 deaths from covid per 10,000 inhabitants, more than any other entity. They are followed by Baja California, the State of Mexico and Sonora: all three with 21 deaths per 10,000 inhabitants. The northern states of Coahuila and Chihuahua have a rate of 20 deaths per 10,000 inhabitants. The national average is 16 deaths per 10,000 inhabitants. Chiapas, Oaxaca and Michoacán were the regions with the lowest figures.
Heart disease was the leading cause of death last year. Diabetes, a condition that has Mexico among the most affected countries in the world, ranks third. Malignant tumors and influenza and pneumonia complete the top five spots. The pandemic represented a heavy burden for the country’s health system, aimed at responding to the health crisis to the detriment of other diseases. In 2019, for example, 156,041 people died of heart problems and a year later there were 218,885, 40% more. Diabetes also saw a considerable increase: in 2019 104,354 people died and in 2020 it rose to 151,214, 44% more.
Last year 749,500 deaths were expected, but there were 1,075,779, which shows an excess mortality of more than 43%. “The pandemic caused by covid-19 had an effect on the increase in mortality in general,” reads the Inegi publication. The excess mortality data indicate that more people died than expected among patients with heart disease (almost 39%), diabetes (almost 36%) and influenza and pneumonia (almost 82%).
The Inegi data for 2020 comes at a time when Mexico is experiencing a new rebound in the coronavirus, the so-called third wave. In the last day, the country registered more than 19,000 confirmed cases, another record compared to the incidence of recent weeks. Specialists estimate that the peak of infections will arrive in mid-August. The advance in vaccination, however, has reduced the lethality of the coronavirus – the percentage of people who die after becoming ill with covid – to less than 2%, compared to the 22% that was registered during the first wave, in the first months of the epidemic. The exhortation of the authorities is not to lower our guard, especially among the young population and those who have not been vaccinated, the main affected by the appearance of the Delta variant, a more contagious version of the virus than the original.
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