A report published by Mexico’s health ministry showed that by mid-February there had been just over 294,000 deaths “associated with COVID-19”.
That’s an increase of nearly 60 per cent from the originally published number.
That figure has since risen by almost 27,000 more deaths through March, bringing the total to more than 321,000.
The new report was published on Saturday with little fanfare.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has faced significant criticism for his handling of the pandemic, the BBC reported.
Those figures put Mexico second after the US, but the population of Mexico is 126 million – far smaller than either the US or Brazil, which previously ranked second-most: the US boasts a population of over 328 million and Brazil has 211 million.
These developments show just how deadly Mexico’s second wave in January was.
The Opposition has accused Mr Obrador of downplaying the severity of the pandemic, according to The Guardian.
Former president Felipe Calderón tweeted on Saturday that “more than 400,000 Mexicans have died, above the average for previous years … probably the highest figure in the world”.
The increased numbers indicate a far worse situation in the country than previously understood – a country through which increasing numbers of migrants have been travelling to the US border.
Migrants are not supposed to enter the US from Mexico without a negative COVID-19 test, yet at least 185 migrants released this past month into Brownsville, Texas, tested positive.
The city of Brownsville cannot prevent these people from travelling throughout the country, it said, and it was unclear how many of these people had used public transportation.
“This is an example of how unprepared DHS was for this surge,” said former Border Patrol chief Ronald Vitiello, referring to the mishandling of COVID-19-positive migrants.
“I saw today that Mexico closed their Migrant Protection Protocol shelters, and since the program is suspended, they will likely refuse to allow people to wait for test results. They are not likely equipped to administer [COVID-19] tests.”
The article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission