Mexican president says Mexico doing better than US on virus

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An elderly woman looks at a health worker before getting her shot of the Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine at the Americas sports center in Ecatepec, a borough on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Foto AP/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY – 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 1% 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.”

López Obrador has demanded the United States vaccinate the millions of Mexicans living in the U.S. with or without legal documents; Mexico says its consulates in the United States have even been registered as vaccination centers.

But a photo circulated on social media showed a sign posted last week outside one Mexico City vaccination center stating “No Foreigners Will be Vaccinated.”

Presidential spokesman Jesús Ramírez said that was a mistake, and promised everyone over 60, foreigners and Mexicans alike, would have access to vaccines.