Shaken to the core, New York is, by far, the city where COVID-19 has hit the hardest. In retrospective, it is only natural, NY had 12,000,000+ arrivals on 2018 alone, making it the eighth most visited city in the world. Was one of the earliest hits outside Asia and Europe, reporting its first case as of March 1, but, quite probably, having had undetected cases as early as January. Put that together with erratic postures from government officials local and federal and you have a recipe for disaster.
Mexico was different. At the end of 2019 health budget was raised by 40 billion MXN (2 billion USD). A scientific task force, including Drs. Alcocer-Varela (National Science Award, H-index: 33) and Lopez-Gatell (Published in Science, NIH.gov, Plos One, H-index: 17) was put together early in January and decision making was turned over to this group in late February. The WHO/OMS has repeatedly commended Mexico for its scientific approach in the handling of the COVID-19 epidemics. H-index is a metric of how influential is a scientific researcher worldwide.
Charismatic and articulate, subsecretary Lopez-Gatell has been tasked as spokesperson for the pandemics and has continuously derailed concerted efforts to spread fake news by the furious presidential opposition, which have used bot farms to propel negative trending topics on Twitter. Amongst the angry opposition is epidemiologist, former health secretary and UNAM’s ex-president Jose Narro-Robles(H-Index: 3); omissive on several corruption cases, both in the UNAM and in the federal government. Salomon Chertorivsky, an economist and former health secretary (no H-index) has been adamant on criticizing the president and Lopez-Gatell too, and, like Narro, has a history of corruption.
NYT’s tirade against the mexican government[a] goes on citing mostly hearsay and gossip. More a yellow press tabloid note, than a major newspaper piece. On the record -along with former health secretaries- are GOAN’s governors, a bloc formed by opposition party PAN governors the minute Lopez Obrador was declared winner of the presidential election back in June 2018, with the explicit purpose to fight back every presidential action.
Moreover, NYT assertions that deaths registered as other diseases -mainly Pneumonia, Influenza and other Acute Respiratory Diseases- are being used to mask deaths by COVID-19 is rather old (early March), already debunked, and first sponsored strongly by Samuel Garcia a senator known for constantly producing fallacious statements, humiliatingly debunked on every occasion. Dr. López-Gatell has stated repeatedly that under representation is normal and happens in every country.
The total lack of evidence shows even on a picture of piles of coffins where they resort to using the reflection on water to make it look at first sight like there are twice as many coffins[b]. Whether those 15 coffins have corpses inside or were waiting is not stated. What is real is that NYC’s mortuaries were overwhelmed over a month ago and already using bags and cardboard coffins.
Every night lengthy, fact and science based explanations are delivered by Dr. Hugo Lopez-Gatell. On its rush to deliver a blow to Mexico’s credibility, and save New York’s face The New York Times has delivered a show of poor journalism, and giving voice only to a biased, and heavily discredited group, not presenting the counterpart.