The Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell, has covid-19. He has announced it himself in a message on social networks: “I started with symptoms last night, fortunately they are mild. The antigen test came back positive and I’m waiting for the PCR. I will be working from home, pending the vaccination strategy ”, he reported. The man at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus in Mexico, thus announces that he has contracted the disease, as happened with the President of the Government a few weeks ago and with other of his closest collaborators. Two days ago, it was the Secretary of Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, who informed the citizens of Mexico that he was also infected.
Gatell is the Government’s strong man in this covid pandemic and the face that every day communicates to citizens the course of infections. This Friday he was also in the National Palace reporting on it, with a green mask, which later, as is his custom, he took off to follow the program. He was accompanied at the table by the director of Epidemiological Operations Research of the Secretary of Health, Ana Lucía de la Garza Barroso.
Gatell, as the visible face of the fight against the pandemic, has traveled a path of light and shadow. It started with great force, a prestigious image that gave it high credibility among the Mexican citizenship that, as time went by, was wearing thin. The use of the mask, before which he has always expressed his rejection, has been one of the weaknesses of the undersecretary, which has earned him strong criticism. Other controversies about the management of the pandemic have ended up putting him in the trigger and he has had to deal with some political storms. This Christmas he was seen in a restaurant with a friend on the beaches of Oaxaca, when he had repeatedly asked the population to take shelter at home, which caused one of the most difficult moments he has had to face. The president did not withdraw his support and praised his ability to work during these long months. They were running some of the most terrible weeks of the pandemic, amid celebrations and posadas.
The undersecretary has as many supporters as detractors on social networks who are fierce with him day after day, in a strongly polarized and fanatical political language. In recent times, some publications have been primed against him, accusing him of being the sole cause of the worst figures that the virus crisis and the deaths it has caused have been thrown. Others admire his communication skills and his prestige in the field of health, where he is endorsed by an enormous career in various institutions. Although it seems like a paradox (everyone imagines that whoever knows the most about this crisis is not going to be infected) is not the first person in charge of the pandemic to become infected. It also happened in Spain, for example, when Fernando Simón tested positive in March. Two weeks later he resumed his activities.
During the contagion of the Mexican president, who confined yours to the National Palace, Gatell defended the privacy, also of politicians with public office, to report on the course of his illness, like any other citizen. Unless, he said, they want to make it public themselves. Now it has been he himself who has wanted to report on his contagion.
Mexico adds 178,965 deaths from the disease, with 829 announced in the daily report this Friday. More than 56,000 cases are still active.
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