CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Five more coronavirus deaths were reported in the city of Juarez on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 163 as the caseload to date jumped to 696 infections.
The mounting fatality count in Juarez comes as a Mexican anti-corruption group alleges that virus deaths across the nation may be as much as three times higher than the official death toll. That’s based on a study in Mexico City, which has been the hardest hit community during the pandemic.
The organization Mexicans Against Corruption said in a report 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 virus’ technical name is SARS-CoV-2.
The federal government acknowledges only 1,332 confirmed deaths in Mexico City since the pandemic began, less than a third as many as the investigation revealed.
Mexico performs relatively few tests; only about 150,000 have been carried out so far in a nation of about 125 million people. Federal officials admit some victims have died without being tested and have contended that cases in which death certificates mention coronavirus as a possible or probable cause of death will eventually be added to official death toll.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has reacted angrily to reports that claim Mexico is under-counting its deaths on the federal level, and the anti-corruption group’s report was unlikely to please him. He has criticized the group the past for allegedly opposing his policies and representing business interests. He has mockingly called it “Mexicans For Corruption.”
The group’s founder is Claudio X. Gonzalez, a lawyer, activist and the son of a prominent business magnate.