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Mexico sees 2nd straight day of 20,000 coronavirus cases

January 17, 2021 GMT
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City worker Carlos Ruiz gives instruction to a COVID-19 patient after delivering a tank of oxygen to her home in the Iztapalapa borough of Mexico City, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. The city offers free oxygen refills for COVID-19 patients. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
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City worker Carlos Ruiz gives instruction to a COVID-19 patient after delivering a tank of oxygen to her home in the Iztapalapa borough of Mexico City, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. The city offers free oxygen refills for COVID-19 patients. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico posted its second straight day of more than 20,000 coronavirus cases Saturday, suggesting a surge in a country already struggling in many areas with overflowing hospitals.

There were 20,523 newly confirmed cases Saturday, after 21,366 infections were reported Friday. That was about double the daily rate of increase just a week ago. Reporting normally declines on weekends, suggesting next week may bring even higher numbers.

The country also recorded 1,219 more deaths, a near-record.

The country has now seen almost 1.63 million total infections and has registered over 140,000 deaths so far in the pandemic.

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The country’s extremely low testing rate means that is an undercount, and official estimates suggest the real death toll is closer to 195,000.

Teams vaccinating frontline health care workers administered about 25,000 shots on Saturday, bring the total so far to over 463,000. The numbers are still inadequate for the 750,000 frontline health care workers, each of whom will require two doses.

Mexico has reported severe reactions to the Pfizer vaccine in 24 people, of whom six remain hospitalized.

In Mexico City, the current center of the pandemic in Mexico, 88% percent of hospital beds are full.

Mexico has pinned much of its hopes on cheaper, easier-to-handle vaccines made by China’s CanSino. But that vaccine has not yet been approved for use.

The country has also expressed interest in getting the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.