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Photo: REUTERS
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Over 400 bodies suspected of perishing to COVID-19 found by Bolivian Police

Bolivia is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases and their police found over 400 bodies in a five-day span with the majority of the deaths relating to the virus.

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In Bolivia over the weekend, hundreds of bodies were discovered laying on streets, in front of houses, and under vehicles. 

Some were in trash bags, others were covered by cardboard, and all were unable to receive a proper burial from their loved ones. 

These gruesome scenes serve as testament to the spike in COVID-19 cases across Bolivia, spawned from the country’s handling of the pandemic. 

Bolivia’s Special Force of the Fight Against Crime, a unit of their national police, told reporters on Tuesday about the chilling figures. 

Their national director, Colonel Iván Rojas, said that at least 85% of the deaths were caused by the novel coronavirus.

Cochabamba, the country’s third largest city, was where most of the bodies were found, registering 191

The nation’s capital, La Paz, recovered 141 victims while Bolivia’s largest city, Santa Cruz, confirmed 68 fatalities. 

Bolivia’s Forensic Investigation Institution disclosed that between April 1 and July 19, 3,016 bodies suspected of perishing from COVID-19 were recovered outside of hospital settings. 

According to data from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, Bolivia has 62,357 confirmed cases and 2,273 deaths as of July 22.

This makes them the eighth-worst affected country in the Latin American region.

In June, health minister Eidy Roca said that the South American country would reach a peak of 130,000 cases by mid-September. There is still a presidential election scheduled for September 6, although there are efforts to postpone it. 

They were originally planned for May 3.

Bolivia has been in political turmoil since their nearly 14-year president, Evo Morales, was ousted from power in November after being threatened by a military coup. This grew from claims of fraud in an election that had Morales seeking a fourth term.

Jeanine Añez has since proclaimed herself interim president of Bolivia. 

Her party, Democrat Social Movement, is a minority in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, and Añez is polling third in the presidential elections. 

She is 28.6% behind the favorite, Luis Arce, who represents Evo Morales’ party, the Movement for Socialism. 

This has prompted people to think that Añez wants to delay the election again so that she can buy herself time to go up in polls, build a coalition with another candidate, or find a way to forbid Arce from running.

But the situation in Bolivia could get even worse, as people are receiving contradicting information on how to treat the virus.

The Bolivian Senate approved the use of Chlorine Dioxide, a bleach-like substance, to treat the virus. They also made it accessible without a prescription, leading thousands of hopeless people flocking to pharmacies to purchase it without medical consultation. 

Bolivia’s Health Ministry has said that it is drawing up a resolution to make the substance unsuitable for human consumption in Bolivia after reports of chlorine dioxide poisoning have been confirmed. 

“Chlorine dioxide products have not been shown to be safe and effective for any use, including COVID-19, but these products continue to be sold as a remedy for treating autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and flu, among other conditions, despite their harmful effects,” said the US Food and Drug Administration on the use of Chlorine Dioxide for treating coronavirus patients. 

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