Although Covid cases in Cancun are few and far between right now, health authorities are warning of a possible increase in cases this summer. The city has been in the green in regards to its level of risk, which is measured by a “traffic light” warning system, due to the steady decrease in cases so far this year.
From April 10-16 the daily average of cases was only 345 and only about 4 percent of the regular hospital beds were occupied, but Mauricio Hernández, Director of Economic and Social Benefits of the Mexican Institute of Social Security, says we will likely see an uptick in cases between July and August. The Director further indicates that another wave may follow a few months later in December, with the highest peak of infections from that wave occurring in January 2023.
Hernández elaborated on the prediction stating that he did believe that this summer wave of Covid would not be as bad as when Omicron was present, but that vaccinations would be an important tool for keeping it at bay. General Director of the Institute, Zoé Robledo, further explained that during the fourth wave of the virus the number of hospitalizations in Mexico could have been as high as almost half a million, but thanks to the vaccines did not exceed much more than 33,000.
The General Director also stated that “Vaccination against Covid-19 prevented hospitalizations as a result of infection by the Omicron variant from rising to 70,000 patients per day during the fourth wave of the pandemic.” These vaccinations, they say, would also minimize the number of infections during both of the predicted upcoming waves of the virus significantly.
In recent weeks there has been an increased effort in the vaccination strategy in the Riviera Maya, with local officials even encouraging tourists to be vaccinated while visiting Cancun. Vaccination sites have been set up at the Cancun International Airport and even at various hotels in the tourist district. Not only does this help with offering tourist vaccines, but also provides easy access to tourism workers.
A vaccination campaign geared towards residents has also been taking place over the last few months, with modules offering free vaccines being set up throughout the city. Residents are being encouraged by officials to be sure to complete the entire vaccination scheme in order to be protected. Currently, 87 percent of the population above the age of 14 in Mexico is vaccinated, and 90 percent of those over 18 years of age have received the vaccine. If this rate continues to rise the projected increase in cases would be significantly lowered, although some increase is inevitable.
According to institute directors, the Covid we see in the future will be more of an endemic disease, rather than a pandemic. This would mean less severe variants of the disease and fewer infections but they would continue to occur year-round in all likelihood.
There has recently been a huge increase in travel in Cancun and the Riviera Maya with so many Covid-19 restrictions being lifted in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico but infection numbers have still managed to stay relatively low. With the recent lift on the mask mandate in the United States, though, vaccines will remain more important than ever in keeping those numbers low. Although the future of the lift of that mandate remains uncertain, the fact that Covid may be sticking around for the near future must be considered. In order to keep the number of cases from rising too high this summer, it is important to continue to be cautious and to keep administering the vaccines.
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