Cases in Mexico City spiked from 276 on Dec. 1 to 3,793 on Jan. 3, still far less than its January 2021 peak of 7,373. Quintana Roo set its daily case record in March at 574, but the state approached that figure with 562 cases on Dec. 30.
According to federal public health data, since December, Baja California Sur reported the highest percentage of confirmed cases among its total population (0.83 percent) of any state in Mexico. The next-closest was Baja California, its northern neighbor, with a 0.29 percent confirmed infection rate, followed by Mexico City (0.27 percent) and Quintana Roo (0.21 percent), home to Cancún, Tulum and San Miguel de Cozumel.
Baja California Sur was bustling with tourists over the Christmas season. The Associated Press reported that hotels in Los Cabos were at 75 percent capacity during Christmas week, according to statistics from the national tourism authority.
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Mexico has remained open to international visitors throughout the pandemic. That has recently included accepting U.S. cruise ships with coronavirus cases onboard. On the whole, it has fared better than the United States against the wave the omicron variant has fueled, although statistics appear to be trending in the wrong direction.
According to tracking data The Washington Post compiled through Thursday afternoon, Mexico reported 53 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week, compared with 1,121 new cases per 100,000 people in the United States. Over the course of the pandemic, the United States has had nearly 58.5 million cases, compared with 4 million in Mexico, which has a population about 40 percent as large.
Mexico, however, showed a 146 percent week-over-week rise in new cases, compared with 70 percent in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rates Mexico with a Level 3 warning, advising that travelers have a “high” risk of exposure to the coronavirus and should not visit unless fully vaccinated.
On Mexico’s Caribbean coast, tourist traffic has fueled safety concerns unrelated to the coronavirus. In the fall, alleged cartel gunmen fired shots on streets and beaches while vying for territory to sell drugs to tourists. Mexico has deployed a “tourist security battalion” to help visitors feel safe, but officials say the foreigners’ demand for party drugs has contributed to the violence between cartels.
Alejandra Ibarra Chaoul contributed to this report.