The third wave of covid-19 infections and the Delta variant do not give truce. This Friday the Government of Mexico City has announced that the new Coronavirus Epidemic Risk Traffic Light for the capital is set in orange. Thus, the city re-implements some restrictions after most of them were lifted in May. In the last week there has been a considerable increase in the number of hospitalized in public and private institutions. While on July 16 there was a record of 2,538 hospitalizations for covid-19 in the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico, today there are 3,382, an increase of 844 admissions in just one week. Hospital occupancy is at 27% of its total capacity.
Eduardo Clark, director of Digital Government at Digital Agency for Public Innovation, has said that the city will be in this color for at least two weeks, under the new measurement parameters that allow recovering social and economic activities. Although the increase in hospitalizations and positive cases has formally changed the covid scenario, in practice the authorities will not close or limit economic activity thanks to the advance of vaccination and the still wide margin to expand hospital capacity.
Clark has detailed that the measures will focus on insisting on preventive information on young people, those most affected by the third peak of the covid-19 pandemic. “The wave of infections is highly centralized in people between 18 and 39 years old and to a lesser extent in people up to 50. We must reinforce the message of social distance and the use of face masks in social gatherings,” he pointed out.
The yellow traffic light has lasted a total of 11 weeks, somewhat more than the scarce 15 days that the capital remained at the green traffic light. It is the first time that the new criteria dictated by the Ministry of Health have been applied, which changed the requirements and conditions to regulate economic reactivation and mobility. Although the details of these adjustments are not entirely clear yet, the capital has not waited to implement them.
So far, there have been no changes in capacity, permitted activities or business hours. Despite the fact that in the first two waves of the pandemic the orange traffic light meant the decree of the prohibition law, capacity reduced to between 30% and 50% of its capacity and several businesses such as gyms or closed bars, in this they will not be registered changes for the moment. The Head of Government, Claudia Sheinbaum, has indicated that the authorities’ main priority now will be to reinforce the message that “it is necessary to take care of yourself” and “call people to get vaccinated.”
The positivity rate at the city’s covid kiosks and testing centers has stabilized. Only one in five tests are positive. In addition, the hospital conversion capacity can still add some 3,000 beds to the total available to care for critically ill patients. “We still have a mattress,” Clark stressed. At the moment, the only centers with limited beds are some National Institutes of Health, which refer their patients to other hospitals in case of collapse. These two statistics instill confidence in the authorities not to have to shut down or limit economic activity.
In addition, the vaccination proceeds at cruising speed. The main strategy of the local government will focus on accelerating the immunization of the group most affected by the third peak of infections, those from 18 to 29 whose vaccination campaign will start next week. The municipalities that will receive the dose first have not yet been announced. With this plan, Sheinbaum has indicated that they hope to have 100% of this age group vaccinated with the first dose by the end of August.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.