MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The number of new novel coronavirus infections in Mexico reported on Thursday surpassed the record set just the previous day, and officials reported 816 more deaths as the pandemic engulfs Latin America’s major nations.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador earlier defended his government’s handling of the outbreak after reported deaths spiked this week. Health officials said the fatalities included many deaths that happened weeks ago and have now been reclassified.
Thursday’s additions bring Mexico’s tally to a total of 105,680 cases and 12,545 deaths.
The new way of counting deaths seemed to confirm the pandemic has had a greater impact in Latin America’s second most populous country than the official numbers previously showed.
A Reuters investigation concluded that fatalities could be 2.5 times higher than reported. Mexico’s government has previously admitted the real number of fatalities was higher than the official count.
Officials said the review of prior deaths was ongoing.
In Brazil, the death toll from the pandemic surpassed Italy’s on Thursday.
Lopez Obrador said Mexico had the virus under control.
“This is not New York,” he said during his regular morning news conference, referring to the hardest hit U.S. city.
He praised the care of the elderly by families in their homes rather than in care facilities such as the ones that have driven up fatalities in Europe and the United States.
Lopez Obrador said Mexico has seen a lower number of deaths relative to population from the virus than the likes of France, Spain, Germany and Brazil.
“Let there not be psychosis, let there not be fear,” he said.
Mexico’s deaths from the virus ranks it seventh among countries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
(Reporting by Raul Cortes Fernandez and Julia Love; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)