Authorities consider that the decrease of positive COVID cases in the last three months has changed the epidemiological outlook. The undersecretary of health Hugo Lopez-Gatell informed that the end of the pandemic and the beginning of the endemic phase of the virus can be glimpsed.
In order for Mexico to go from pandemic to endemic, four criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO) are being met.
- High response capacity (2% hospital occupancy).
- High vaccination coverage (90% coverage in people over 18 years of age).
- Very few deaths detected (Average of 4 deaths per day)
- Few positive cases detected (average of 292 infections per day).
On March 11, 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tredos Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced that the new COVID-19 disease could be characterized as a pandemic. Earlier that year, on January 30, WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern.
The declaration of a pandemic means that the epidemic has spread worldwide and affects a large number of people. For this reason, Hugo Lopez-Gatell indicated that the reduction of cases and deaths around the world would mean that health measures such as the non-obligatory use of masks outdoors would be made more flexible. For this reason, in Mexico City, temperatures are no longer taken, sprays are no longer used and there are no longer sanitizing mats.
Even though infections have decreased in the country, this does not mean that the virus is about to disappear, but rather that it will be present without seriously affecting the population.
According to the Epidemiological Glossary of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), an endemic is the usual presence of cases of a disease in a population within a given geographical area.
This means that in Mexico, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus is in the process of becoming a regular and controlled disease that will occur in a given region and season.
Mauricio Rodríguez Álvarez, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the UNAM, explains that a disease becomes endemic when it ceases to be exceptional, as has happened with the coronavirus thanks to diagnostic tests, vaccines, virological surveillance, access to treatment and adequate care, among other aspects.
It differs from a pandemic because an epidemic disease exceeds the expected number of cases and spreads over wide geographical areas. In general terms, an epidemic can be considered as the simultaneous consolidation of multiple outbreaks in a wide geographical area and usually involves the occurrence of a large number of new cases in a short time, greater than expected.
Epidemics go through four phases: introduction or emergence in a community, transmission of sporadic infections, amplification of the outbreak in a community threatening to spread beyond its borders, and reduced transmission, which is achieved through acquired immunity of the population or through effective interventions to control the disease.
Pandemic occurs when the epidemic spreads over several countries, continents or the entire world, affecting many people. Unlike an endemic, a pandemic is considered an emergency that requires a great deal of attention because of the numerous infections it causes.