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Frontline Mexico: The Fight Against COVID-19

Mexico has one of the world’s highest coronavirus death tolls. Is the country’s unorthodox strategy to blame?

Latin America has turned into a COVID-19 epicentre.

It has 10 percent of the world’s population, but in recent weeks has accounted for nearly half the global daily death toll. And Mexico is one of its worst-hit countries, with a death toll that has now surpassed Italy and Spain.

About one in five of its inhabitants live in the capital, Mexico City – a beehive perfect for any virus looking to spread. Despite that, many question whether its rise here was so inevitable, or if the region’s second-most populous country simply got it wrong.

From the start, there have been questions: Why did Mexico test at one of the lowest rates in the world? Why was the quarantine so softly policed? And why did the country’s president flout his own government’s physical distancing guidelines?

Al Jazeera heads to the front lines with paramedics and medical staff at a public hospital’s intensive care unit, and with stallholders in a mega-market that has become a COVID focal point. We also visit the food banks, where the country’s poorest come for help as they try to deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic.