AMLO infected with COVID amid rise in cases in Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Hours after he went to his morning press conference on Monday without a mask and with a hoarse voice, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed that he was infected for the second time with COVID-19 amid an increase of the cases in Mexico.

The 68-year-old president, who was infected for the first time a year ago, tweeted in the afternoon that he is infected. He said that he has mild symptoms, that he will remain in isolation and will communicate virtually.

The president reported that the Secretary of the Interior, Adán Augusto López Hernández, will represent him at press conferences and other events.

Earlier, after stating that his symptoms were probably due to a “flu”, he insisted that the effects of the new omicron variant are milder. López Obrador proceeded to read a Twitter thread from a collaborator of the Jornada – a newspaper related to the government – endorsing the journalist’s advice, in which he pointed out that the omicron only causes a “little covid”.

“In other words, it does not have the power that the delta variant had,” added the president. He also advised people with symptoms to stay home, take acetaminophen, and isolate themselves rather than go out and try to get a diagnostic test.

The president announced his contagion hours after the Secretary of the Environment, María Luisa Albores, confirmed that he had contracted the virus, as happened at the end of last week to the Secretary of Economy, Tatiana Clouthier, who held a private meeting with the president before reporting sick.

López Obrador, who has always resisted wearing a mask, applied the third dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in December along with some members of his team, and urged Mexicans to follow his example to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

The ruler’s decision to appear on Monday at his morning conference without a mask, despite having symptoms, was criticized by doctor Andreu Comas, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Health Sciences Research Center of the Autonomous University of San Luis de Potosí, who considered it “irresponsible.”

Comas said that if the president has the highly contagious omicron variant, it could have infected the workers of the government palace, members of his cabinet and journalists who had a low-efficiency or badly fitted mask.

When asked about the health consequences that the new COVID-19 infection could generate in López Obrador, who suffered a heart attack more than eight years ago and underwent coronary surgery, the academic told the AP that being a person with heart disease “It could get complicated or at least it could decrease their ability to function and their quality of life.”

“After two weeks of having COVID, they begin with sequelae or ‘long COVID’, and one of them is inflammation of the heart and the bag that surrounds the heart, which is the pericardium,” he added.

The number of confirmed cases in Mexico increased 186% last week, but both the president and other federal and Mexico City authorities insist that there is no need to be alarmed because hospitalizations and deaths have not increased at the same rate. In addition, they have been stressing for days the importance of everyone who has not been vaccinated to do so, since doing so is crucial so that the effects of the disease are less severe.

“70%, perhaps more, of those hospitalized and of deaths are the unvaccinated,” said López Obrador.

88% of Mexican adults are already vaccinated, and authorities are now accelerating the application of the booster dose. However, the experts recalled that both hospital occupancy and deaths are two indicators that may not appear for weeks and only be detected after the peak of infections.

Since Christmas, the private pharmacies and public testing centers that are available have been overwhelmed by long lines, so authorities are recommending isolation when there are symptoms and, in the case of Mexico City, contacting the telephone lines set up for this purpose so that they can be given medical follow-up.

The López Obrador government has been reluctant to do massive diagnostic tests since the pandemic began, and has now called on companies not to require them from their employees. The president acknowledged, however, that the new variant appears to have been responsible for the cancellation of 260 flights since January 6 after airline workers tested positive, had to isolate themselves and there were not enough personnel to replace them.

Mexico surpassed 300,000 coronavirus deaths confirmed by diagnostic tests last week, but so few are performed in the country of 126 million people that a government review of death certificates puts the true number at nearly 460,000.

José Merino, head of the Digital Agency for Public Innovation in Mexico City, said that the capital is at infection levels similar to those of January 2021, but only 6% compared to hospitalizations at that time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *