COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Mexico’s top tourist destinations, following a record number of visitors to the country’s coasts during the Christmas season.
This -partially- Caribbean country has kept its borders open without restrictions throughout the pandemic, although its land border with the United States was restricted to essential travel until November.
This “unique” approach does not mean the pandemic has skipped Mexico’s beautiful beach towns. Less than 12 months ago, hospitals were overwhelmed with more than 1,400 test-confirmed daily deaths.
Quintana Roo, home to the world-famous Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen went from 27 cases on December 20 to 484 cases on December 30, albeit this was still less than its single-day high of 574 cases in August.
Los Cabos, located in Baja California Sur, reported a daily high of 700 cases on Dec. 29, the most since June when it reported 577. Daily instances have progressively grown since then, peaking at 806 on January 3.
Cases in Mexico City increased from 276 on December 1 to 3,793 on January 3, still below the record of 7,373 in January 2021.
During the holidays, La Paz, Baja California Sur’s capital nestled on the Sea of Cortez was filled with tourists.
Hotels in Los Cabos, further south, were at 75 percent capacity during the Christmas week, according to Mexico’s tourist agency.
Public health experts and Mexican citizens have criticized the country’s pandemic response and the decisions made in the midst of the recent spike in infections.
For instance, the country recently let dock U.S. cruise ships with confirmed coronavirus cases onboard.
To date, Mexico has recorded more than 3.99 million cases and 299,580 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
However, new data show that more than 321,000 Mexicans have lost their lives to the virus, a 60 percent rise from the previous tally.
Mexico’s president has frequently downplayed the impact of the pandemic in Mexico. He’s recently claimed that Omicron causes no hospitalizations, despite reports from his own government that say the opposite.
“This new variant [Omicron] is very contagious, but fortunately it is not requiring hospitalization, nor do we have cases of rising deaths,” said the President on Tuesday.