Virus threatens Mexico on the southern border; former secretary of health launches alert


If Central America confirms cases of COVID-19, migrants could be a source of mass infection in the country, said José Ángel Córdova

The Mexican authorities must be on guard against possible mass infection by Coronavirus.

José Ángel Córdova, former secretary of federal Health, warned that when confirmed cases of COVID-19 are registered in Central America, the country could be overwhelmed by the epidemic.

The former official, who faced the pandemic of the AH1N1, explained that the massive contagion could expand by land due to the migratory flow that the Mexican southern border registers daily.

In an interview with Excélsior, he urged the government to launch four actions from this first phase, in which there are only imported cases.

These are exact accounting of the infrastructure available for the number of potential patients; implement social distancing when there are dozens of confirmed cases; define a fund of resources for contingency and avoid shortages and more expensive inputs such as mouth covers.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, the number of infections confirmed by COVID-19 is maintained at five, as well as 38 suspected cases.

Migration would inject COVID-19 to Mexico

Former Secretary of Health José Ángel Córdova Villalobos explains that the country could be overwhelmed by this epidemic, because a massive contagion could arise.

When confirmed cases of COVID-19 are registered in Central America, Mexico could be overwhelmed by this epidemic, because a massive contagion could occur – by land – due to the migratory flow that is lived daily in our southern border, José Ángel Córdova warned Villalobos, former Secretary of Health, who during the six-year period of Felipe Calderón faced the influenza pandemic AH1N1.

In an interview with Excélsior, he added that during this first phase, in which only isolated cases of the new coronavirus strain have been submitted, the federal government must immediately launch at least four actions:

The exact accounting of the infrastructure that is available, with respect to the number of patients that are usually treated in each hospital, so that the number of hospitalized does not exceed the number of beds, fans or even intensive care rooms.

Recommend having adjacent drugs

Although it is clear that there are no medications against COVID-19, such inventory should include adjacent drugs that can be used for complications in patients with other diseases, such as cardiotonic for the heart, bronchodilators or third-generation antibiotics.

At the time that “dozens of confirmed cases” are registered, within a maximum period of three days the measures of social distancing must be implemented – which has already been shown that they avoided a greater number of infections – and massively reinforce the hygiene measures that They were used in the 2009 influenza pandemic.

Establish and define a fund of resources for contingency.

And a contingency plan that, agreed with the private initiative, should already be implemented to avoid shortages and more expensive supplies, such as mouth covers or hand gel.

“My fear is that suddenly cases could increase suddenly. In a massive way, but I do not see that except through migration by land, because air is very difficult for an airplane full of infected people to come, so now they are calm.

“But cases will be appearing continuously. And it may be that at some point, the number of people that eventually, given their health conditions, become serious, if intensive care rooms, fans, have not been prepared, this can exceed us and with the risk that they may die.

“Right now they are arriving from China or from Italy, but the issue is that they can arrive from other places after a while. They can arrive from Central America and there generate a very wide growth and from there they can come by road or walking to our territory, ”he explained.

After reiterating that “it was never exaggerated” in the measures taken during the 2009 influenza pandemic, Córdova Villalobos said: “Now that we are not in that pressure of the major contingency, we must review, for example, if there is a city With ten million people and there are only three thousand fans, we will have a serious problem if the disease comes with everything.

“And it is better to have the possibility of buying, in this case, more fans, because if not the patients die.

“In addition, we must remember that we suspended surgeries that were not urgent to give priority to influenza patients and this should be taken into consideration.”

Supports Morena’s proposal to create a fund

With respect to a contingency fund, the former secretary of Health supported Morena’s proposal in the Chamber of Deputies for the creation of an emerging fund of 25 billion pesos, as he argued that in 2009, the Catastrophic Expenses Protection Fund of the disappeared Popular Insurance, which had between 20 thousand and 30 billion pesos, was decisive for the containment of the pandemic.

“Yes, it is advisable and I hope that Insabi has that fund, that it can have a resource, that it does not have to be so small to be able to cope. And if not all resources are used, then they can be used for another contingency or for the care of diseases such as cancer or for the emerging purchase of all types of medicines, ”he explained.

Noting that he has not been consulted by the current government, Córdova said that “in all humility,” during the influenza pandemic he summoned the secretaries of Health of previous administrations, regardless of their political affiliation.

Julio Frenk Mora, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, José Antonio González Fernández Guillermo Soberón and Jesús Kumate participated in the call.


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