Colombia’s government informed the Constitutional Court that it expects the coronavirus to kill more than 41,500 citizens before the end of the year, local media reported Tuesday.
Between March 6 and Tuesday June 16, the National Health Institute (INS) had registered 1,801 confirmed deaths of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
The real number of deaths is believed to be much higher and, according to the Health Ministry, is projected to reach 41,500 by the end of December.
The number is considerably lower than the 220,000 and 310,000 victims the INS in March projected would have died by mid-June had the government of President Ivan Duque not imposed a lockdown.
Colombia calculates Duque inaction would have caused at least 212,000 coronavirus deaths by mid-June
The health effects of the lockdown
The lockdown, regional measures to restrict the mobility and recommendations like social distancing have lowered the projected number of deaths and pushed the expected peak of active cases forward.
According to the Health Ministry, the INS now believes the pandemic will reach its peak on August 18 while the country’s hospital system is expected to be tested to the fullest next week.
However, “if every Colombian doesn’t take measures seriously, there will be more infections and more deaths,” INS director Martha Lucia Ospina warned on Tuesday in President Ivan Duque’s daily Facebook transmission.
By Thursday next week, the INS projected a total of 14,577 intensive care units will be necessary. According to the Health Ministry, the country on Monday had 6,685 of which half were occupied.
Until the end of August, a total of 30,000 hospital beds would be needed for Covid-19 patients.
The national emergency
The peak of the pandemic is expected less than two weeks before the end of the national emergency that has allowed the government to decree far-reaching measures to combat the coronavirus and its economic effects.
This emergency ends on August 31 unless the government decides an extension is necessary.
Local and regional governments will be able to continue issuing decrees to combat the pandemic depending on the situation in their city or province after September 1.