MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Tuesday that his country is doing better than the United States in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, even though Mexico’s per capita death rate is probably higher and the country has vaccinated less than one percent of its population.
López Obrador said Tuesday that comparing countries is in “bad taste,” but went on to say “the most powerful nation on earth, our neighbor, did worse than us.”
The Mexican government’s “estimated” death toll from COVID-19 is now about 201,000. The United States death toll is around 500,000, but its population is 2.6 times larger.
Moreover, estimates of excess deaths in Mexico since the start of the pandemic suggest the COVID-19 toll is now well above 220,000. Mexico has administered about 1.7 million vaccine doses, while the U.S. has given 64 million shots.
López Obrador blamed rich countries for “hoarding” vaccines, calling that “totally unfair,” and said “the U.N. has to intervene.”
The Mexican leader invited Argentine President Alberto Fernández onstage at his daily morning press conference Tuesday, where the Argentine leader proposed that vaccine companies be forced to cede intellectual property rights and allow anyone to manufacture their shots.
“The idea is to propose at the G20 the need to declare COVID-19 vaccines as ‘global goods,’ so that they cede their intellectual property rights and all countries can freely produce them,” Fernández said.
Mexico is trying to beef up its supply of Pfizer vaccines with Russian and Chinese shots, and late Monday the country received its first shipment of 200,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccines.
Mexico has had over 2 million test-confirmed coronavirus cases, but the low level of testing means the real number is probably several times that amount.