COVID-19 in MexicoThe COVID-19 pandemic has led to a historic level of downfall in Mexico’s economy, causing thousands of individuals to lose their jobs. As of 2018, approximately 42% of the Mexican population lived below the poverty line; the pandemic has unfortunately strongly contributed more and more individuals to the impoverished communities in Mexico. The Mexican government did not impose a general lockdown because many citizens could not afford it. Even so, the economy was paralyzed due to most consumers locking themselves down voluntarily. Furthermore, public hospitals collapsed, resulting in people unable to receive medical attention or the private visit that could ultimately save their lives. COVID-19 in Mexico has brought to light the wealth disparity among citizens in Mexican society.

Vaccine Inequality

Vaccine inequality is prominent among those living in poverty. Vaccines are not currently reaching the rural areas of Mexico where there are thousands of people who are now geographically isolated from vaccine centers. Additionally, those who live in rural areas would require technology to stay informed about these vaccine centers, but poverty inhibits people from accessing technology and therefore the necessary education and information about vaccination.

Many citizens in Mexico did not originally believe in the severity of the novel coronavirus; face masks did not start being worn as soon as recommended. Health authorities reported not only that many people were not using face masks but also a large number of people were unable to afford one. As a result, patients who were living in extreme poverty are less likely to survive COVID-19 in Mexico. This is largely due to the fact that the impoverished are more exposed to the virus compared to those who are able to afford to quarantine and avoid exposure.


The Mexican government is struggling to give the necessary attention to many who need it most. According to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy, or CONEVAL, COVID-19 in Mexico caused a 63% drop in household income. The pandemic has proven that staying home is a privilege that many impoverished citizens do not have. Statistically speaking, 27% of people living in poverty contracted the novel coronavirus, while only 5% of the upper-class contracted COVID-19. This demonstrates the clear relationship between high rates of infection and socioeconomic status in Mexico.

Looking Forward

COVID-19 in Mexico has caused thousands of deaths, and the lack of infrastructure and government initiatives has caused delays in the vaccination process. However, Mexico has received more than 2.7 million COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the United States. The White House has made what is considered a positive diplomatic step forward in providing Mexico with these doses of the vaccine, and the hope is that even more vaccines will be sent by the U.S.

The NGO Direct Relief has donated 330,000 masks to help relieve the crisis. As well, Direct Relief assisted in importing the 100,000 KN95 masks donated by Academy Award-winning film director Alfonso Cuarón. Many people are benefiting from the action, and the vaccination process is slowly improving in Mexico.

COVID-19 in Mexico has demonstrated how socioeconomic status affects access to healthcare and the ability to protect oneself from the pandemic. However, vaccination has begun and donations of personal protective equipment, or PPE, are steps in the right direction for Mexico’s handling of the novel coronavirus.

– Ainara Ruano Cervantes
Photo: Flickr

Direct Relief Helps Fight Against COVID-19 in NepalLike many other countries, there has been a large and sudden outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Nepal. The country initiated a nationwide lockdown on March 24 in an attempt to keep the count from rising above 1,000 cases. The strategy worked successfully until May 29 when the World Health Organization reported a sudden escalation of 17,000 cases in Nepal, making it the fourth-most infected country in Southeast Asia. Local media claimed that this surge occurred due to the return of Nepali citizens who had been working in other COVID-19 affected countries. Despite the increase of found cases, the Nepali government only conducted testing on less than 1% of its 29 million population. This stimulated fears that the actual case count is much higher than expected or predicted. Unfortunately, the unavailability of reliable medical equipment has hampered efforts to address and prevent COVID-19 in Nepal.

Direct Relief Background

Direct Relief is renowned for its consistent dedication to helping people around the world recover from natural disasters, humanitarian crises and widespread medical emergencies such as Ebola. In addition, Direct Relief raised and delivered $1.17 billion in aid resources to various countries in 2019. Now, Direct Relief is focusing its aim on the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 globally.

History of Direct Relief’s Help in Nepal

Direct Relief has a long history of helping Nepal through times of crisis. Since beginning its work with Nepal in 2008, Direct Relief has provided more than $67 million worth of medical aid to local healthcare providers. After the 2015 earthquake that killed approximately 9,000 Nepali people, the organization focused on providing on-the-ground assistance in the form of equipment, medicine and trained paramedics. Additionally, Direct Relief repaired destroyed medical facilities and provided mobile assistance for those who could not access what care centers were left.

It is important to note that Nepal is greatly dependent on India for resources. Further, because of the border lockdown, access to medical supplies became severely limited. Nepal is also a mountainous country since it is home to both the Himalayas and Mount Everest. This type of terrain makes it extraordinarily difficult to properly distribute supplies.

Direct Relief’s Assistance During COVID-19 Pandemic

In response to the rise of COVID-19 in Nepal, Direct Relief distributed medication, prepared ICU kits and supplied in-person treatment for those infected. Because of its efforts, Direct Relief has successfully acquired and circulated equipment to hospitals all across Nepal. While the borders remain closed and resources are still limited, Direct Relief continues to fight for Nepal and other developing countries in similar situations. Of note, Direct Relief delivered more than 2 million pounds of medicine in Nepal alone.

COVID-19 is a large hurdle to overcome. It is one that can appear seemingly insurmountable for countries struggling to provide sustainable aid for its population. However, it is a threat that can be targeted and minimized with the right kind of effort. Direct Relief continues to apply this effort for the many millions who still suffer around the world.

Nicolette Schneiderman
Photo: Flickr