Mexico Shakes Off An Earthquake But Not Mounting Shock From COVID-19

Medical workers, patients evacuated during Tuesday's quake. But daily toll of coronavirus dwarfs impacts of deadly temblor.

Mexico Shakes Off An Earthquake But Not Mounting Shock From COVID-19
AP/Eduardo Verdugo

In Mexico, not even Tuesday's 7.4-magnitude earthquake could top the daily shock of the coronavirus. That quake just added to the challenges and misery of a deepening pandemic as it forced patients from Mexico City hospitals and briefly disrupted the urgent work of medical staff.

The southern Mexico quake had killed a half dozen people as of Wednesday morning. Mexico's COVID-19 toll was nearing 24,000 deaths, with daily fatalities in June often topping 1,000 and total infections nearing 200,000.

Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador quickly assured the population after Tuesday's quake. But critics assail him as clueless on the coronavirus, including his appearing without a mask at a hospital treating COVID-19 patients.

But Mexican health teams are stepping up to intervene directly in known virus hot spots. In Mexico City, a significant outbreak was blamed on this vast produce market, the largest of its kind in Latin America. 

The market has stayed open amid Mexico's efforts to reopen its economy. But now more than 400 responders are on site, taking temperatures and testing workers and patrons for the coronavirus.

Teams in Mexico City are also being dispatched into communities and private homes to detect and track infections, particularly among vulnerable residents.

And a former military camp in the capital is being mobilized to handle an overflow of virus patients.

As his country confronts the virus, President Lopez Obrador says maybe some good behavior might keep the coronavirus at bay. He suggests (quote) "no lying, no stealing and no betraying." But Mexico's COVID-19 temblor is hitting harder with each day.