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About a third of Mexicans have exposure to coronavirus

Up to a third of Mexicans may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the end of 2020, according to a study of random blood samples taken between February and December

MEXICO CITY – Up to a third of Mexicans may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the end of 2020, according to a study of random blood samples taken between February and December.

Antibodies were found in 33.5% of blood bank samples and tests from medical laboratories in Mexico unrelated to COVID-19. Levels varied by region; the highest exposure rate was in the northwest, from Baja California to Chihuahua, with 40.7%. The lowest was in the western states, with 26.6%. In general, areas along the border with the USA had higher rates.

Victor Borja, of the Mexican Social Security Institute, said the rate may have increased by up to 10 percentage points on average across the country, after the sharp increase in cases in January. But even though the exposure rate is currently 43.5%, Borja emphasized that the country is still far from collective immunity.

The authorities suggested that, with nearly 350,000 virus-related deaths and about 40 million Mexicans exposed to the virus, the death rate could be just under 1 percent.

In addition, the study suggested that about 86% of those infected developed effective antibodies, but about 14% did not and could be reinfected.

Mexican authorities also announced that they had detected three cases of the South African variant on Tuesday. Variants in the United Kingdom and Brazil have already been detected in the country, but Mexico does relatively few tests of variants.

The country received about 22.6 million doses of vaccines and nearly 17 million vaccines, covering more than 12 million people, some of whom received two doses. That is still a small amount for a country of 126 million. Mexico vaccinated many of its elderly people and plans to start vaccinating people between 50 and 59 in May.

Deputy Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said that Mexico will soon begin receiving Pfizer vaccines from US factories instead of factories in Europe. This will facilitate the logistics of importing the photos.

There have been more than 216,000 confirmed test-related deaths related to COVID-19, but Mexico does so few tests that many people die without being tested.

A preliminary government review of death certificates suggested that the excess of deaths attributable to COVID-19 reached 316,344 in early March. There have been 29,395 deaths confirmed by testing since then, for a total of 346,110.

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