A quarter of Colombia’s total number of COVID-19 deaths were confirmed over the past week as the pandemic has begun raging through the South American country.
At least 4,064 have died since March 20, the National Health Institute said Sunday, a week after reporting more than 3,000 had died.
Coronavirus deaths in Colombia
Source: National Health Institute
In his daily Facebook COVID show, President Ivan Duque ignored the rapid increase in deaths and stressed “we have achieved positive numbers compared to the rest of the world and Latin America.”
The national government has left the response to the pandemic with mayors while trying to reactivate the economy.
Pandemic quickly saturating hospitals in mayor cities
Having saturated healthcare in the historically neglected parts of the country, the pandemic has begun saturating the healthcare system in the country’s largest cities.
The main bottleneck, however, has become the available number of healthcare workers, many of whom have fallen ill or are quarantined after failures to timely provide them with personal protection equipment.
The port city Barranquilla and the surrounding Atlantico province are in crisis amid alleged mismanagement by Mayor Jaime Pumajero and Governor Elsa Noguera.
The Colombian Medical Federation urged an immediate lockdown and a coordinated response to the pandemic in the Caribbean province, but without response.
Also in the capital Bogota, which reported that 81% of the capital’s’intensive care units (ICU’s) are occupied, the situation is becoming critical.
Mayor Claudia Lopez did not immediately declare the red alert she said she would declare if the ICU occupancy rate would exceed 75%.
Critical two months ahead
The coming two months will be critical as the pandemic is projected to reach its peak in the second half of August.
A national emergency comes to an end on August 31 after which Colombians will have to “learn to live with COVID-19,” according to the president.