The 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 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.
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