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Health official thinks the coronavirus has peaked in Mexico

Mexico’s point man for the coronavirus pandemic said Friday that he thinks the country reached its peak of infections over the last three weeks.

Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell had previously wrongly predicted that infections would peak in May and June, but on Friday he said, “We have now had a maximum point in the curve.”

But he also predicted that second waves of infections would continue occurring around the world for some time. “This is a phenomenon that is going to be with us in the whole world for several years,” he said.

A street vendor sells crafts outside Mexico's National Palace in Mexico City, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. With the country facing a deep economic recession, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pushed to reopen the economy quickly even as COVID-19 infections and deaths continue to rise. (AP PhotoFernando Llano)

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Mexico rose by 5,618 on Friday to reach 511,369. The Health Department reported 615 newly confirmed deaths from COVID-19, bringing the country’s total deaths to 55,908.

For the first time during the pandemic, Mexico declared one of its state, the Gulf coast state of Campeche, as a medium or moderate-risk area.

New infections in Campeche, one of Mexico's least populated states, have fallen to around 20 per day or less over the last week. Since the pandemic began, the state of 900,000 inhabitants has seen just over 5,000 confirmed cases and 646 deaths. The moderate-risk rating will allow more Campeche businesses to re-open.

Pedestrians walk past a tent city outside of National Palace in Mexico City, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Street vendors who have been hit hard by the new coronavirus pandemic lockdown, are camping outside the National Palace demanding economic help from the Mexican government. (AP PhotoFernando Llano)

Of the remaining states, 25 will continue under a high-risk designation and six have a maximum-risk designation, with tighter restrictions on businesses.

Newly graduated teachers from the state of Michoacan, hang signs on the fence of the city's cathedral, as they protest against Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, demanding better salaries and jobs, in Mexico City, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. With the country facing a deep economic recession, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pushed to reopen the economy quickly even as COVID-19 infections and deaths continue to rise. (AP PhotoFernando Llano)