Background: Mexican state governments' actions are essential to control the COVID-19 pandemic within the country. However, the type, rigor and pace of implementation of public policies have varied considerably between states. Little is known about the subnational (state) variation policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico. Material and methods: We collected daily information on public policies designed to inform the public, as well as to promote distancing, and mask use. The policies analyzed were: School Closure, Workplace Closure, Cancellation of Public Events, Restrictions on Gatherings, Stay at Home Order, Public Transit Suspensions, Information Campaigns, Internal Travel Controls, International Travel Controls, Use of Face Masks We use these data to create a composite index to evaluate the adoption of these policies in the 32 states. We then assess the timeliness and rigor of the policies across the country, from the date of the first case, February 27, 2020. Results: The national average in the index during the 143 days of the pandemic was 41.1 out of a possible 100 points on our index. Nuevo León achieved the highest performance (50.4); San Luis Potosí the lowest (34.1). The differential between the highest versus the lowest performance was 47.4%. Conclusions: The study identifies variability and heterogeneity in how and when Mexican states implemented policies to contain COVID-19. We demonstrate the absence of a uniform national response and widely varying stringency of state responses. We also show how these responses are not based on testing and do not reflect the local burden of disease. National health system stewardship and a coordinated, timely, rigorous response to the pandemic did not occur in Mexico but is desirable to contain COVID-19.
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