MEXICO CITY — It was time for a break, Marisela Perez decided, a chance to ditch concerns about masks and social distancing and the pervasive fear of infection. She and her husband gathered up the couple's two children, aged 10 and 6, and drove last weekend to Acapulco.
"My kids are stuck at home all day, doing their classes online, never getting out, " said Perez, 37, a cosmetics saleswoman. "I see them angry, full of anxiety. How is that possible? They are only kids! So we took them to the beach. I haven't seen them this happy in months."
On Thursday, Mexico passed a doleful milestone: The country's pandemic death toll topped 100,000. Only the United States, Brazil and India have more.
Five days earlier, Mexico recorded infection number 1 million. Mexico ranks 11th on the global infection list, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
But the true number of deaths here is considerably higher, officials concede, because Mexico lags most other countries in testing. Many virus-related fatalities have been attributed to other causes, health authorities say.
There were no memorial ceremonies to mark the latest metrics of calamity. Rather, surging case numbers and shrinking hospital bed space have forced new restrictions for restaurants, shopping centers, gyms and other venues in Mexico City and elsewhere.
The 100,000 marker spurred a renewed wave of criticism against a president whose government has eschewed mandatory lockdowns and curfews, stressed voluntary compliance with mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines, and discounted virus testing and contact tracing.
Headlines highlighted the official "failure" in a nation where, as in the United States, the pandemic has become thoroughly politicized.
In response, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a left-wing populist, assailed conservative "vultures" for partisan weaponizing of a calamity.
"From the beginning, they wanted to use the misfortune of the Mexican people in this pandemic to blame us," the president said. "It's obvious."