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Half of all COVID tests are positive in Mexico, highest in world

As nations around the world try to get their economies humming again, the number of coronavirus tests coming back positive has turned into the metric to watch. Five percent is the threshold to reopen safely. Ten percent is troubling, 20% outrageous.

In Mexico, it stands at 50%.

The sky-high results are easy to explain -- though not so easy to fix. The Latin American nation has stubbornly shunned widescale testing and instead runs exams only on the sickest of patients. Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez Gatell in late May said anything more would be "a waste of time, effort and resources."

Throughout the pandemic, Mexico and parts of Latin America have reported positivity rates that dwarf anything seen from China to the U.S., including new trouble spots like Arizona and Texas. With half of all tests coming back positive, Mexico ties only Bolivia for title of the world's highest rate. In Argentina and Chile, almost 3 out of every 10 exams lead to a COVID-19 diagnosis. And in Brazil, where 1.4 million people have been infected, no one knows for sure because the government doesn't release that data.

"You don't want it to be that easy to find cases," said Amesh A. Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. "They're not trying hard enough."

 

Officially, Mexico reported more than 226,000 cases as of Tuesday and 27,769 deaths. All tolled, Latin America has more than 2.5 million cases and accounts for about half of all new daily deaths globally.

-- Bloomberg News

Republicans push back on Democrats' DC statehood bill

WASHINGTON -- Republican senators came out swinging Wednesday against a bill passed in the House last week that would make the District of Columbia the 51st state.

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