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Virus Takes Root in Venezuela Oil Town Already in Collapse

  • In Maracaibo public hospital patients vie for only 8 ICU beds
  • Forced to recycle masks, medical staff have stopped showing up
Workers spray disinfectant in a market in Maracaibo on May 28.
Workers spray disinfectant in a market in Maracaibo on May 28.Photographer: Maria Fernanda Munoz/picture alliance via Getty Images

Blood stains on the walls and floors. Cockroaches and rats in hallways. And several dozen Covid-19 patients per ward, but only two nurses and one bathroom.

Ever since the coronavirus started coursing through Latin America in March, health experts worried what would happen if the pandemic took root in embattled Venezuela. In the hot and humid coastal city of Maracaibo, that day has arrived.