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In life and death, Mexico’s coronavirus victims face growing wait

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A gravedigger is seen on the tomb of a sufferer of Covid-19 on the Municipal Pantheon of Ecatepec, Mexico state, Mexico, on February 2, 2021. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP)

MEXICO CITY — When Miguel caught the coronavirus his household hoped assist would come shortly for the Mexican grandfather, however as an alternative they needed to wait — for oxygen, a hospital mattress and, lastly, a cremation.

Their story is more and more acquainted as Mexico reels from its worst month of the pandemic but, with greater than 32,000 deaths in January, overwhelming hospitals, mortuaries, cemeteries and crematoriums.

After Miguel fell unwell in late December, “the doctor asked us to go get oxygen, and that’s where the long journey began,” stated his 32-year-old granddaughter, who requested to not determine her grandfather’s household title for causes of privateness.

When the 78-year-old’s situation worsened his family struggled to discover a hospital with room for him.

After he succumbed to the virus on January 4, Miguel’s household was placed on a ready listing to cremate his stays.

“They told us that he was in the queue, because many people had already died,” his granddaughter stated.

Finally Miguel was cremated on January 8.

Mexico has formally registered round 160,000 deaths from Covid-19 — the world’s third highest toll — and extra mortality knowledge suggests the actual quantity is way larger.


The nation of 126 million has recorded 1.8 million identified circumstances of the virus, together with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is alleged by his authorities to be making a great restoration.

‘Apocalyptic situation’

There is now a median wait of eight days between demise and cremation, stated Roberto Garcia, business director on the Olimpia funeral residence and vice chairman of Mexico’s funeral administrators affiliation.

Before the pandemic, the utmost wait was 24 hours, Garcia stated.

Behind him, a blackboard listed the names of the deceased to be collected from hospitals the subsequent day.

“There’s too much demand,” stated Garcia.

Although many households need cremations, others want burials, however there’s a queue for these too.

Demand for coffins “skyrocketed” in December throughout the Christmas vacation, stated Pedro Jaramillo, supervisor of a manufacturing unit that makes steel caskets.

“Our warehouses were full, but the moment that the pandemic exploded they began to empty, until it became an apocalyptic situation,” he stated.

His firm, positioned in a suburb subsequent to Mexico City, manufactures about 70 coffins day by day.


Even if he wished to, Jaramillo can not enhance manufacturing in a single day.

“It’s a specialized trade, it has to be done by hands that know the process. Saying ‘let’s double production’ is not possible.”

In the city sprawl north of the capital, the Jardines del Recuerdo graveyard can not sustain with requests from bereaved households, gross sales supervisor Margarita Beristain stated.

“The demand for services due to Covid deaths increased enormously, so much so that we don’t have enough capacity and have to turn people away,” she stated.

Grave diggers and crematorium employees have been exhausting at work making an attempt to scale back the backlog.

But the primary downside is that the refrigerated room the place our bodies are saved till cremation or burial can solely maintain 44 corpses.

“When we decline to provide a service it’s because we have nowhere to keep the body safe and we’re not going to deceive the families,” Beristain stated.



For extra information concerning the novel coronavirus click on here.

What you need to know about Coronavirus.




For extra information on COVID-19, name the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 native 1149/1150.





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