Yucatan health officials announce official coronavirus statistics on Tuesday evening. Photo: Courtesy

A health department briefing that indicated 54 new infections in the past 24 hours overlooked dozens of new cases. Only five of the 47 Merida market vendors who had tested positive that same day were added to Tuesday’s official report.

The number was misleadingly low because of federal tracking rules. Yucatan actually detected 96 new infections, a record for a single day.

Low incidents of testing mean the actual number of infections in Yucatan is unknowable, but medical personnel calculate more than 4,000 people in the state are carrying the virus.

In a joint operation with the Merida City Council, 119 random tests were given to vendors at San Benito and Lucas de Gálvez markets. When the results came back, nearly 40% indicated infection. The massive markets are now closed for 14 days.

However, the state government stressed that only five of those positive results “can be included within the national platform because this is established by the guidelines of the federal government.”

So only five of the 47 market infections were reflected in Tuesday’s announcement.

Some commenters during the health department’s Facebook Live broadcast were incredulous, opening wondering why the market numbers didn’t appear to bump up the average number of new cases.

Mexico City’s death registry

A registry of death certificates in Mexico City suggests a huge undercount of COVID-19 deaths.

There were 4,577 cases where doctors mentioned coronavirus or COVID-19 as a possible or probable cause of death, more than three times the official death toll in the city.

The federal government acknowledges only 1,332 confirmed deaths in Mexico City since the pandemic began.

The additional 3,245 deaths in Mexico City, if they are confirmed or added to official counts, would push the national death toll from the 5,666 reported by federal officials Monday to 8,911.

The anti-corruption group Mexicans Against Corruption said that it got access to a database of death certificates issued in Mexico City between March 18 and May 12. It showed that in explanatory notes attached to 4,577 death certificates, doctors included the words “SARS,” “COV2,” “COV,” “COVID 19,” or “new coronavirus.”

The group scanned for a “suspected,” “probable” or “possible” role of the virus in the deaths. In 3,209 of the certificates, it was listed as a suspected contributing factor along with other causes of death, like pneumonia, respiratory failure, septic shock or multiple organ failure.

Mexico performs relatively few tests; only about 150,000 have been carried out so far in a nation of about 125 million people.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has criticized the watchdog group, mockingly calling it “Mexicans For Corruption.”

Sources: Diario de Yucatan, Associated Press