“The Mexican government underreports Covid-19 cases”

Alejandro Caló, 27, Monterrey (Mexico)

Mexico has reported 36,000 coronavirus cases, but that’s inaccurate. They are testing very few people and there are thousands more cases that the government is not reporting. Experts have estimated that we may have as many as 700,000 cases of symptomatic coronavirus. It’s just impossible that we have avoided the same outbreak affecting the United States, our neighboring country. 

I live in a northern state, Nuevo León, near the border with Texas. Here in the North, states have adopted the same regulations, although each state is autonomous and is therefore free to set out its own plan. But we have all had a serious lockdown, with only essential businesses staying open, and people can go out only at specific times. In some cases, neighborhoods have been closed off in order to limit the spread of the virus. At first, people were claiming that it was unconstitutional as it harmed freedom of movement, but I believe that it’s thanks to this lockdown that my neighborhood hasn’t reported new cases over the past week.  

We implemented coronavirus regulations a week before a national policy was announced, which by the way is very relaxed. Our president, López Obrador, simply suggested to stay home and didn’t make the use of masks mandatory. I understand that Mexico cannot afford to shut everything down — here in Latin America people live by their everyday jobs — but we need to be more considerate of the pandemic. Southern states are surely not doing so as they are all following Bolsonaro’s relaxed directions.

Before the pandemic, I was working in Mexico City, but when my job was suspended I decided to come back to my hometown to quarantine with my family. I am still getting paid, although a couple of weeks ago I was told that my salary would be reduced by 25%. I am not happy about it, but I think it’s reasonable. 

I am really scared of going out, so I am trying to do everything from home, including grocery shopping. I had never done it before — I enjoy going to the shops and picking everything up myself. I think it’s even more difficult for my parents to adapt to these changes: they are very old school, they like to do everything in person. Even when they have to make a transfer, they like to go to the bank instead of doing it online. I am now showing them how to do all these things online  — I had to make them understand that our health, as well as everyone else’s, comes first.

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