A steady decline in coronavirus cases and rising levels of immunity from vaccination or infection suggest that the worst of the pandemic may be over for hard-hit Mexico, experts say.
The improvement has led to a gradual loosening of lockdown measures, paving the way for children to go back to classrooms and spectators to return to sports stadiums and wrestling tournaments.
The outlook "is hopeful," said epidemiologist Alejandro Macias, who led Mexico's fight against the swine flu pandemic in 2009.
Another major wave of infections across the country now seems unlikely, although there is a risk of limited outbreaks in areas with little immunity, he told AFP.
Mexico's confirmed Covid-19 death toll of more than 222,000 is the fourth highest in the world, and the government acknowledges that the real figure is probably much higher.
Deaths "associated with Covid-19" were estimated to be more than 337,000 as of March 15, according to excess mortality figures released by the government.But after a surge in infections in January, fatalities and hospitalizations have now fallen for 20 straight weeks.
"The pandemic continues to lose strength," President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said this week, adding that there was no reason to fear a major resurgence.
- Natural immunity -
On January 20, Mexico registered a peak of around 1,800 daily deaths, with an average of 1,180 fatalities a day over the preceding week.
That has now dropped to an average of around 200 a day.
"A lot of people have already been infected and have immunity. There are fewer people left for the virus to infect," Macias said.
Another major factor is that many of the highest risk people over the age of 60 have now been vaccinated.
In May the government also began inoculating people aged 50 to 59 and says it expects vaccine supplies to increase in the coming weeks.
On Thursday the Mexican health regulator added the Johnson & Johnson shot to the list of vaccines approved for emergency use.