Almost a quarter of the population of Chapala and Jocotepec will die if they become ill with COVID-19
People with chronic degenerative diseases have an increased the risk of death up to ten times if they carry the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which produces the disease known worldwide as COVID-19.
Manuel Jacobo/Domingo M. Flores (Chapala, Jal).- Almost a quarter of the population registered in the municipalities of Chapala and Jocotepec are diabetics, obese, hypertensive or suffer from kidney damage, cancer or other chronic diseases. This puts their risk of death if they contract COVID-19 approximately 10 times that of the rest of the population, according to data provided by the Decentralized Public Organ (OPD) of Jalisco Health Services.
The OPD reports that the population of Jocotepec, 46,521 in the 2015 INEGI Census, is the most vulnerable with 9,934 people -21.13 percent of the total population – suffering from a chronic degenerative disease. The municipality of Chapala, population 50,738, has 9,434 people who suffer chronic-degenerative diseases, 19 percent of the population. These percentages increased in the two Lakeside municipalities from 2010 to 2015. At the end of 2019, Chapala showed an increase of 27 percent in diabetics with 3,404 cases, from 2,469, and Jocotepec reported 3,562 diabetics, up from 1,918, an increase of forty-six percent.
Hypertension has also increased in the two municipalities: Jocotepec has seen a 44% increase, 3,854 patients from 2,212 in the same period. Chapala’s increase was smaller 15 %, from 3,273 to 3,854 patients with high blood pressure. However both municipalities saw a decrease in kidney failure. Chapala went from 73 in 2018 to 58 in 2018, a decrease of 21 percent. Jocotepec saw a decrease of 48 percent, from 27 cases in 2018 to 14 in 2019. Some experts doubt these figures due to the high incidence of this type of disease in the Lake Chapala area and no governmental or private institution has accounted for it.
According to the University of Guadalajara (UdeG) website «Jalisco After Covid-19», three additional factors make Lakeside citizens vulnerable to fatal COVID-19 infections: epidemiological profile of the population, lack of infrastructure and personnel for their care, and inequality in access to health services. This is evident at the Community Hospital of Jocotepec, one of the three hospitals in the region designated to receive seriously ill patients with coronavirus. The hospital has only three automatic ventilators to attend to seriously ill patients from neighboring municipalities such as Chapala, Jamay, Ocotlán and La Barca, among eight others who need to be intubated. Hospital officials have said they are trying to obtain more equipment. (translated by Patrick O’Heffernan).