Transcript for COVID-19 rages through Mexico, even as country begins to reopen
Reporter: Far from view on the barren patch of land, nearly two miles from the cemetery Gates, a row of unmarked graves awaits the next procession. officially, it's called municipal cemetery number 12, but today it's known as the covid-19 burial ground. Those who work here know the bodies will continue to come. In the midst of this pandemic, digging graves is the only thing they can control. For the families of the victims, their farewells are cut short. How hard is it to bury your husband in these circumstances? For Guadalupe, it was her husband of 23 years. What does it say on the death certificate? The doctors suspected coronavirus, and so this must be his final resting place. In a burial pit, reserved for those with covid. Another fresh mound of dirt sealed. With flowers and tears. The full force of this pandemic is now sweeping across Mexico. Hospitals, morgues, crematoriums and graveyards are filling up. And what's most remarkable about this site is that every single grave that you can see, even up the hill, is only from April. In fact, most of them are only from a two-week period. Mexico is being ravaged by this virus. Critics say much of the strain is down to a lax response to the outbreak. Mexico's president observe dor at first down playing the threat, refusing to halt rallies, hugging and kissing supporters. Three months later, and the official death toll is over 14,000, and the country's grappling with its highest numbers of coronavirus infections yet. Even so, the country has begun to reopen. In cancun, mariachi bands welcoming its first tourists back. While, in the state of jaliis Coe, demonstrations after this video circulated on social media, showing a 30-year-old construction worker, presumably arrested for not wearing a mask. His name, Giovanni Lopez, beaten to death hours after taken into custody. Three officers have been arrested. Add tensions in the shadow of the virus that continues to claim lives. Mexico City is now the country's epicenter. The fifth largest city in the world, home to over 21 million people. But a pale imitation of its former self, not so for the hospitals that have seen an avalanche of critically ill patients pour their through doors. There are days that we have 100% of patients on ventilator. Reporter: Dr. Domingo Gomez has practiced emergency medicine here for three years. Once we had the first case, in one week we had all of our beds full. Reporter: What has been the hardest thing for you I watch lot of people die. Even from we're doing all of our effort, it's a lot of death. We had a patient successfully intubated, with respirator support, suddenly the patient became critical again. We found out the patient had a pulmonary embolism. The virus can kill somebody so you see somebody well. Suddenly in a moment he dies. Reporter: You can't see light at the end of the tunnel? Can't see when this is going to end. Reporter: Dr. Lopez gatel is the chief epidemiologist. And his daily briefings have made him a household name. What's it like to have to be the face and the voice of this? Well, the pressure is intense. Reporter: A respected academic, Dr. Lopez gatel has taken a different approach to combating the outbreak, passing over recommendations from the world health organization and insisting Mexico would not undergo mass testing. The reason we are not conducting testing in every person is not lack of money. We still have a surplus of tests. It is really a waste of time. Waste of effort, waste of money, and it's fictional to believe that that can be implemented when you have hundreds of thousands of cases. Reporter: The questions about the official toll are mounting. A damning investigation by an anti-corruption group suggesting deaths in the capital alone are perhaps three times higher. In every single country, the numbers that are presented are smaller than the real ones. In everyone, everyone. Reporter: But it doesn't have more than three times the rate, which is what the research suggests is the case certainly here in Mexico City. You just said three times, in Mexico, right? And what is it, the number, the factor in the U.S.? Nobody that brings this question to the Mexican authorities has been able to put a number on the size. Jimmy: I accept there's numbers in other countries. But I'm here in Mexico interviewing you. Do you accept it's probably significantly higher? Absolutely, here and everywhere. Reporter: But as the lockdown lifts, death still stalks this city. In the absence of hard numbers, those who care for the dead may be the only ones who know the true toll of the virus. Reporter: This was as you a but for Juan Carlos and Victor Manuel who handle the deceased, -- Reporter: Dr. Domingo Gomez has the same concerns. Inside the hospital, I know I'm protected. But here at home, it's kind of scary. We have solution, Clorox for the shoes. Reporter: And recently, the virus came knocking at his door. His roommate, Cecelia, a radiologist at a neighboring hospital tested positive for covid. I'm not going to lie. For us, we scared about the situation. But we let her know we are with we are still hanging out. But with a distance. Reporter: Learning to live from afar, in hopes that surviving a virus that still poses the gravest of threats. We're still at the top, and it's not coming down yet.
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