Pandemic Life in Mexico City’s Most Crowded Borough

Iztapalapa is Mexico City's largest municipality with a population of over 1.8 million people. The borough is heavily working class, with a large percentage of the population dedicated to working in the informal economy. The city and national government has offered little assistance to those in the country who income has been affected by Covid-19, and people in Iztapalapa are still working on the streets even while the threat of the virus looms heavily. All photographs taken in July 2020 by MEGHAN DHALIWAL

City public health workers outside Central de Abastos — the team moves around the massive market taking temperatures and handing out hand sanitizer.

A casket is carried through Iztapalapa's Centro Historico. The deceased passed away from complications related to diabetes. A large cemetery sits in the center of Iztapalapa, but groups of mourners are not allowed inside for funeral services.

A child wearing a face shield moves through the tianguis, or open air markets, of Iztapalapa's San Pablo neighborhood.

A convenience store with protective plastic covering, a large hole for trading products and cash between workers and customers.

A family plays at a park in the neighborhood of Escuadron 201 in Iztapalapa. When asked about the virus, the father (who declined to give his name) replied, "We're Christians. We have faith, we'll be ok."

A man weaves his horses through traffic in downtown Iztapalapa.

A woman in an outdoor market sits inside her stall, a plastic covering with two large holes for trading products and cash between her and her customers.

Miguel, a mariachi, sits alone in Iztapalapa's Mariachi Plaza. Mariachi performers usually wait here to get hired for different jobs and performances, but Miguel says the virus has drastically affected business. "We used to work 10-12 hours a week, I'd say. Now we're lucky if we're working 5-6."

A man selling used clothes sits on the side of the road on on the the tianguis, or open air markets, in Iztapalapa's San Pablo neighborhood.

People wait outside a Covid-19 testing facility set up at the Central de Abastos to serve workers in the market as well as members of the community who live around the market. Between April 28 and July 22, the testing site has tested over 15,000 people and had 1,347 positive tests come back.

A doctor, a member of a healthcare brigade brought in for a Covid-19 triage site at the Central de Abastos, does a test for Ignacio Perez Santos, a worker in the market who has started showing symptoms of the virus.

Face masks sporting different brands for sale in one of the open air markets in Iztapalapa's Centro Historico.

Central de Abastos in Iztapalapa, one of the largest wholesale food markets in the world and responsible for 80% of the food consumed in the Mexico City metropolitan area.

Healthcare workers in Central de Abastos stop a passerby for hand sanitizer. When Covid hit the Central de Abastos, it spread rapidly. Prior to Covid's appearance, the market had nearly half a million people move through it daily.

It is not uncommon to see people on bikes or even motorcycles inside Central de Abastos — the market extends 210 acres.

Workers lower the casket of a Covid-19 victim.

Workers take a rest after completing the burial.

New graves dug in the Covid-19 section of the San Lorenzo Tezonco public cemetery in Iztapalapa.

A woman (name withheld) in a barbershop in Iztapalapa's San Pablo neighborhood trims the hair of a young client. "We take as many precautions as we can. The real thing to fear is that a lot of people can't afford to eat if they don't work. So you have an impossible choice. We're trying to be safe."