MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s first coronavirus-related death and at least one other case have been linked to a heavy metal concert here in early March, prompting concerns that there are hundreds or thousands more cases than the government has acknowledged.
Mexico has come under heavy criticism for refusing to cancel large public events, allowing one of Latin America’s biggest music festivals to take place last weekend as the virus was spreading. The country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, posted videos of him kissing and hugging his supporters as recently as Sunday.
On Wednesday, a 41-year-old man died of the coronavirus in Mexico City. His family later said that he had attended a concert of the Swedish heavy metal band Ghost, held in the capital’s Palacio de los Deportes on March 3. About 12,500 people attended the event, video of which shows a sprawling mosh pit.
This week, another case linked to the concert came to light. A doctor at Mexico City’s Bite Medica told The Washington Post that he is treating a 43-year-old man, who he believes contracted the virus at the concert.
The patient had no exposure to any other likely carriers of the virus, the doctor said, and fell ill six days later. He had no underlying health condition, the doctor said, but rapidly devolved into critical condition.
“Imagine how many other people could have been exposed,” said the doctor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern for his and his patient’s privacy.
Less than two weeks after the Ghost concert, the same event promoter, OCESA, held the Vive Latino music festival in Mexico City, attended by roughly 40,000 people. Numerous public health experts encouraged the Mexican government to cancel the festival, but they refused. Many concertgoers attended both events.
The Mexican government has denied that community transmission of the virus has begun, but medical experts say such transmission started weeks ago, as the concert-related cases suggest.
The wife of the man who died Wednesday spoke to the Milenio news channel about what she described as poor medical treatment at a hospital designated for coronavirus patients.
“The hospitals have absolutely nothing,” she said. “We had to buy everything — medicine, surgical material. Many things are missing, and there are no protocols.”