July 7, 2020 / 1:38 AM / a month ago

Mexico's coronavirus pandemic could last until next April - health official

Mexico's deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Mexico City, Mexico May 4, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The coronavirus pandemic could last in Mexico until next April, with infections expected to rise during the October flu season and through winter, a top health official said on Monday, further pushing back the potential resolution of the crisis.

Mexico has recorded 261,750 total cases and 31,119 overall deaths, putting it in fifth place worldwide for most fatalities from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, according to a Reuters tally.

Mexican Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell, the coronavirus czar, has continually walked back forecasts about when the crisis would peak, and has said the death toll and infection tally are likely higher than reported figures.

In an interview with Mexico’s Radio Formula, he warned that coronavirus infections may persist in significant numbers into the winter, carrying the pandemic into spring.

“Flu season begins in October and there are some reasonable assumptions that we could also have a spike in COVID-19 along with the flu throughout the fall-to-winter season,” he said.

When asked about the length of the pandemic in Mexico, Lopez-Gatell said it could last “until March to April of next year.”

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has estimated that Mexico will exceed 88,000 deaths from the coronavirus by October.

Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon and Peter Cooney

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