With more than 17,000 deaths reported in June alone, Colombia culminates the most devastating month of the coronavirus and in which only the advances in vaccination open a halo of hope in the face of the virulence of the covid-19 that led the country to overcome all its records of deaths, infections and hospital saturation.

According to figures from the National Institute of Health, only this month 17,106 of the 105,934 deaths from covid-19 that the country has in 16 months of pandemic were reported, that is, 16.14%.

SIGHT: Colombia registers another 25,880 infections and 608 deaths from coronavirus

Likewise, the chain of infections seems to have not yet been broken and the country continues to add tens of thousands of infections every day. With 33,594, last Sunday the record of cases was registered and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Colombia is one of the five countries in the world that registered more new cases last week.

Another issue that has made it difficult in recent weeks is the occupation of the Intensive Care Units (ICU), which in cities such as Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, the three main in the country, has been higher than 90% for almost two months .

CAUSES OF THE CRISIS

The causes of the elongated third peak, which has lasted for more than two months and continues with the contagion curve on the rise, can be summed up in four factors, epidemiologist Carlos Álvarez explained to Efe.

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The first is “The circulation of new variants, mainly alpha (identified in the United Kingdom) and gamma (in Brazil) that have a greater contagion capacity and are circulating in various regions of the country”, explained the expert, who is also the national coordinator of WHO studies on the covid-19 in Colombia.

Likewise, the rainy season experienced by some regions of the country has influenced the increase in infections, since it is this time when “respiratory viruses are transmitted the most,” such as coronavirus.

“The third factor is that, despite the fact that many people are vaccinated or recovered from covid-19, there are many people still susceptible (to become infected)”, said the epidemiologist and added that there is still a significant percentage of citizens who can contract the disease.

Finally Álvarez points to “changes in human behavior” as the last factor, since “the perception of risk has been changed by covid-19 and this makes compliance with the rules more flexible.”

Just the last two months in Colombia They have been marked by the massive protests against the Government, as well as by the economic reactivation program with which bars and restaurants with greater capacity have been reopened, as well as cultural and sports shows with the presence of the public.

A HALO OF HOPE

Despite the fact that the current situation is difficult for the country, the advances in the National Vaccination Plan are a hope because so far 17,941,952 vaccines have been applied, of which 6,566,762 correspond to second doses and 87,968 to the formula from Janssen, which is single-dose.

In this sense, there are already 11,375,190 people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine and of them 6,654,730 those who have their complete scheme, that is, 13.2% of the Colombian population is already fully vaccinated.

Álvarez sees the capacity of the Colombian health system to increase vaccination as key, especially because, he explained, it is expected that in the third quarter of the year the country will receive doses at a faster rate and that they will be added to the 24,812,534 that it has had available between February and June.

However, we must not lower our guard because, although the country is expected to emerge from the third peak in the coming weeks, new variants such as the delta, which has not yet been detected in Colombia, could “increase the number of cases” .

“People must be aware, individually and collectively, of what the circulation of the virus implies, that is, it is also important that the community itself does not feel that the virus is gone, there is a strong pedagogical issue that we have to work on” , expresses Álvarez.

It also considers that once contagions begin to decline, the tracking of infections must be strengthened and those who contract the disease must strictly comply with the quarantine days in order to avoid infecting someone else and thus prevent the country from falling again in the future in a health crisis like the one that has experienced in the last two months due to the never-ending third peak of the pandemic.

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