Mexico reported the third-highest coronavirus-related death rate in the world on Saturday, trailing behind the United States and Brazil, with 46,688 deaths, according to John Hopkins University data.
Health officials have warned that the country’s reported 424,637 cases — making them sixth globally — is not an accurate account of the coronavirus situation, due to shortages of testing and underreporting of the virus.
Mexican Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell has reportedly downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and opted for lighter tactics and less widespread testing. Ten state governors called for his resignation Friday, according to the BBC.
Lopez-Gatell reportedly blamed complexities surrounding testing as justification for the lack of confirmed cases.
In response to the health secretary’s claims, a think tank, Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MACCIH), started an investigation into the number of death certificates versus the number of reported deaths from coronavirus.
They found that between March 18 and May 12, the number of reported coronavirus deaths was three times less than the number of suspected coronavirus-related fatalities in Mexico City alone.
Firma del Acuerdo para la compra eficiente de medicamentos y vacunas junto a la UNOPS y la OMS. https://t.co/D8QwwAER5y
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) July 31, 2020
The investigation found that in more than 3,000 records of deceased individuals, COVID-19 was listed as the “probable,” “possible” or “suspected” cause of death — meaning the number of reported coronavirus cases and deaths could be as many as three times the number of confirmed cases.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has also faced criticism for his initial lackadaisical stance on the coronavirus pandemic.