Confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Colombia surpassed 80,000 on Friday with intensive care units nearly full in larger cities, where large crowds have gathered for weeks of anti-government protests.
Authorities this week warned that the protests – initially called in opposition to a now canceled tax reform but which have spread to tackle inequality and police brutality – were to prolong an already devastating third wave of the epidemic. Read more
The mayor of Bogota echoed the warning, saying the capital reported its second highest number of new COVID-19 cases and the highest number of deaths since the start of the pandemic on Thursday.
“I don’t know what to say more, warn, beg, plead,” Claudia Lopez said in a Thursday night Twitter message that urged people to stick to social distancing rules.
On Friday, she announced that she was infected and would self-isolate.
Protesters have marched across Colombia since April 28, around the time that daily deaths across the country hit a record 505. The average death toll hovers around 470 per day and on Friday the cumulative toll reached 80,250. Read more
Suivi global Graphic-COVID-19: https://tmsnrt.rs/2FThSv7.
The pressure on the capital’s ICUs “is worrying,” the government said Thursday evening, adding that patients would be flown to other cities.
The occupancy rate of intensive care units for COVID-19 patients in Bogota stands at 94%, according to local authorities. In Medellin and Cali, the rates are 99% and 95% respectively.
Health experts say they respect people’s right to protest, but warn large groups cannot continue to rally.
“We cannot continue like this,” Andrea Ramirez, epidemiologist at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, told Reuters.
“We are now talking about an almost life and death situation, because right now, if people get sick and need an intensive care unit, they won’t find one. “
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