Mexico posted its highest one-day total of newly confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with 27,944 infections and a near-record 1,623 confirmed deaths.
That brings the country’s total so far to just over 1.8 million cases and 153,639 deaths. However, Mexico has an extremely low rate of testing, and estimates of excess deaths suggest the real toll is over 195,000.
A group of over a dozen of the country’s top universities and medical institutes also recommended on Wednesday that the use of face masks be made mandatory in Mexico, a move that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his advisers have long opposed.
The president himself seldom wears a mask, and over the weekend tested positive for Covid-19.
The president’s top pandemic adviser, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, said the 67-year-old president was doing well and was active, and had almost no symptoms apart from an occasional low-grade fever.
“When you ask him repeatedly, he’ll finally break down and say ‘Well, I have a little headache, now that you insist on it,’” Mr Lopez-Gatell said.
Early in the pandemic, Mr Lopez-Gatell said that face masks provided little protection for the wearer and that he opposed rules requiring their use.
However, the experts’ report said masks should be mandatory to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Hospitals are so full in some parts of Mexico that many families have to treat their relatives at home, and they need oxygen cylinders to do so.
But federal authorities have reported that there have there have been 14 robberies of oxygen tanks at hospitals, delivery trucks or other locations across the country.
There have also been examples of fraud, in which people offer tanks or oxygen concentrators for sale, accept deposits and then keep the money without delivering them.
The federal public safety department said eight people have been arrested for theft or fraud.