By James Blears
More than a hundred thousand people have already died of covid 19 in Mexico and we`re told that more than a million are now infected. Yet with such scant testing, the coming year will reveal that this is a stark underestimation, with the numbers constantly spiking. Most Mexicans simply haven`t got the money to check themselves into private hospitals, which are demanding substantial down payments up front for treatment, and many are too terrified to admit themselves to public hospitals, where the survival rates are so low. They`re fearful that once they go in...they`ll never come out.
The Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe has been cancelled by the Mexican Bishops Conference and Mexico City`s Government, for fear of mass infection. But it`s likely many people will defy this, making the annual pilgrimage, praying to the Lord at the steps of the Basilica, for deliverance from the worst pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic, which killed more than forty million, prior to the modern era of worldwide travel and mass communication.
Mexicans by inclination, nature and character are family orientated, and yean to get together to celebrate the birth of Christ. A perpetually fragile economy means that ten percent of the population live and work abroad, mostly within the United States, sending home remittances in the form of money transfers to their families, with billions of dollars. While the desperately needed funds WILL reach their loved ones, they themselves won`t. Their longed for, one and only annual journey is... impossible this year.
By now most people know of a friend or a family member who`s fallen victim to this cruel and relentless virus. It shows us just how fragile and vulnerable and we really are. We`ve already lost so many. Accordingly...many are hoping for a brighter and safer coming year, on the verge of this bleakest of Decembers. Almost Christmas...and what have we done?