Colombia, where a growing coronavirus and vaccine shortages have sparked widespread protests, has surpassed the 100,000 deaths recorded by Covid-19, only the 10th country to surpass that milestone.
Colombia and the Latin American region in general have become emblematic of the global divide between richer nations such as the United States, Great Britain and Israel, which have reliable access to Covid vaccines, and the poorer ones that lack them and face a growing number of deaths.
The crisis has been particularly acute in South America, which is now home to seven of the 10 countries with the highest average daily deaths per person, according to a New York Times database. The list also includes Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru. On Sunday, the death toll from Covid-19 in Brazil surpassed 500,000, placing it only behind the United States and India in the total number of deaths.
The situation in South America is in stark contrast to richer countries, where government officials have lifted emergency orders requiring people to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Colombia has been averaging more than 500 deaths per day since spring, according to the Colombian Ministry of Health. On Monday, Colombia reported 648 deaths, another record.
Less than 10 percent of Colombia’s population of roughly 51 million is fully vaccinated, public health data showed.
Colombia’s surge has been steadily getting worse for months.
In the spring, Claudia López, the mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogotá, warned residents to prepare for the “worst two weeks” of their lives.
The crisis has exacerbated public anger in Colombia, with protests over fiscal reforms related to the pandemic intensifying as the nation battles rising infections and deaths.
There has also been an increase in abuses by the national police, with officers beating, arresting and murdering protesters, sometimes opening fire on peaceful demonstrations and firing tear gas canisters from armored vehicles, according to The New York Times interviews with witnesses and relatives. members of the dead and wounded.