Colombia’s COVID-19 deaths pass 100,000 in unrelenting third wave

BOGOTA, June 21 (Reuters) – Reported deaths from COVID-19 in Colombia exceeded 100,000 on Monday, the country’s health ministry said, amid warnings of a possible shortage of treatment drugs and oxygen in hospitals during a long and brutal third Peak of infections and deaths.

The country of 50 million people has reported more than 3.9 million cases of coronavirus infections and 100,582 deaths.

Colombia has seen record numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths in the past few weeks, with some medical officials warning that certain medical supplies are running low.

According to the local health authorities, intensive care units (ICUs) in large cities are almost fully utilized in the capital Bogota as well as in Medellin and Cali, Colombia’s second and third largest cities.

“We’re seeing a shortage of certain resources everywhere,” Cesar Enciso, medical coordinator for intensive care at San Jose University Children’s Hospital in Bogota, told Reuters, citing a lack of sedatives and oxygen supplies.

“If the situation continues with this number of cases every day, resources will run out,” he added.

The government has blamed week-long anti-government protests for the extension of the third peak, which began after Easter. The country hit a record 30,000 daily reported cases earlier this month, compared with a new high of 648 daily deaths on Monday.

“Humans are the primary breeding ground for the exponential spread of this disease,” said President Ivan Duque at a ceremony marking the COVID-19 deaths in Colombia.

Despite the peak, the South American country has lifted many of the restrictions it put in place on coronavirus control last March to boost its economy and amid widespread frustration over social distancing measures.

Colombia has administered over 14.9 million vaccine doses, including more than 4.7 million second doses. The country hopes to vaccinate around 35 million people – 70% of its population – this year.

Reporting by Camilo Cohecha Additional reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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