Mexico City has issued more than 8,000 death certificates so far this year compared with the same period in the past four years, raising doubts about the actual number of deaths due to Covid-19 in the country.
The study was published in Mexican journal Nexos on May 25. They used information from 52 civic registries in Mexico City to estimate the number of death certificates issued from January 1 to May 20.
Investigators Mario Romero Zavala and Laurianne Despeghel have found a 37% increase in death certificates in April, compared with an average of four years ago. By the end of May, they estimate the number will rise to 120%, the Guardian said.
The team said the increase in the number of deaths compared to the year is not entirely due to Covid-19, but many died because they did not dare to go to the hospital for fear of isolation and other causes.
As of May 25, Mexico City has recorded 1,963 deaths due to Covid-19, according to city mayor Claudia Sheinbaum. Covid-19’s death rate in Mexico City is higher than in any state of Mexico, but experts say the actual death toll is higher, as the test rate in this country is still low.
Mexico has confirmed 68,620 cases of Covid-19, including 7,394 deaths. The investigation of an unusually high number of death certificates raises questions about the actual number of deaths caused by Covid-19.
However, Mayor Sheinbaum and health officials denied the government’s concealment of actual data. Mexico is near the end of the test rate among Latin American countries with only 99 tests per 100,000 people as of May 15.
Romero, co-author of the report told the Guardian, that the low number of deaths in Mexico makes people think the disease is passing.
Hugo López-Gatell, a prominent Mexican epidemiologist previously predicted that Mexico would achieve the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the first 10 days of May. He estimated the death toll to be around 6,000.
Mexico recorded 479 deaths on May 22, the highest ever. However, epidemiologists López-Gatell and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador both confirmed that the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic in the country had passed.