Mexico’s Central de Abasto: How coronavirus tore through Latin America’s largest market
MEXICO CITY — Martín Mateo had a cold. Or so he thought: sore throat, body aches, runny nose. “He felt bad but kept working,” said his son, Carlos. The 50-year-old father had labored for decades as a tomatero — a tomato man — at Latin America’s biggest food market.
Coronavirus? He didn’t believe in it.
Then he started gasping for breath. Within days, he was dead.
By then, scores of Mateo’s fellow tomateros also were infected. Workers hoisted yellow signs outside the market reading “High Contagion Zone.” At least 10 tomato men died from mid-April to mid-May. They included Mateo’s cousin Antonio, a bookkeeper at a neighboring stall named Guillermo, and a bald man everyone called El Peluche — loosely, “Fuzzy.”
The tomato aisle at Mexico City’s famed Central de Abasto market offers a glimpse into why the virus has hit the country so hard. It scythed its way through the sprawling complex, picking off workers made vulnerable by the problems of poverty: chronic illnesses, distrust of government, a need to keep earning money.
While there are no official …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]