Mexico tops 155,000 COVID-19 deaths, may be 3rd highest

Mexico tops 155,000 COVID-19 deaths, may be 3rd highest
Pedro Nuñez wears a mask embroidered with the image of a "catrina" during the COVID-19 pandemic as he waits for clients at his kiosk where he sells sweets and soft drinks on Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Mexico reached 155,145 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 Thursday, which would make it the country with the world's third-highest total, passing India's death toll of 153,847.

Mexico reported 1,506 newly confirmed deaths Thursday. However, Mexico has an extremely low rate of testing, and estimates of excess deaths suggest the real toll to date is over 195,000.

The country also recorded 18,670 newly confirmed infections, bringing the total to 1.82 million.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, and continues to receive treatment at his apartment in the National Palace.

Mexico has so far managed to get only about 760,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines, and is placing its hopes on Russia's Sputnik V . However, Russia has not yet publicly presented the results of Phase 3 testing, which would yield data on how effective it is.

Nevertheless, Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said earlier this week that Mexico is close to approving the Sputnik vaccine, based on he was allowed to see by Argentina, where the shot is already being administered.

That has caused a storm of criticism in Mexico, with some saying the vaccine shouldn't be approved or used until that data is released.

López-Gatell responded by claiming the critics were anti-vaccine, and accused them of doing "a lot of damage."

"They have started to discredit vaccines in a completely irrational manner, with no evidence," López-Gatell said.

But critics say López-Gatell is the one with a lack of evidence.

"They have made up the idea that I am anti-vaccine, because I caught them," wrote Sen. Lilly Téllez of the conservative opposition National Action Party. "I do want vaccines, but ones that have been approved by the World Health Organization and the international scientific community."

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