Water became a commodity traded on Wall Street in December amid fear of scarcity, and now oxygen is being speculated on in Mexico.
With most hospitals full, many Mexicans are battling COVID-19 at home. Oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators (devices that concentrate the oxygen from a gas supply, typically the air) have become scarce, as individuals and companies are taking advantage of the pandemic and selling or renting them at extremely high prices. Others are using the situation to fraudulently sell tanks without delivering them, or to steal customers’ personal information. The situation is only compounding the debt, poverty and inequality that has worsened with the pandemic. It also portends a new wave of fraud and speculation, when vaccines arrive.