RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Slow rattling gasps mark the beginning of the end. The dry COVID cough. Then silence. Eyes wide open. Then they reemerge like a drowning victim for one last breath. Relatives scream in desperation, and their cries wail through the thick air of the city. Just days before, a corpse on any street would have been appalling, headline news, a reason for alarm. Now, the acrid smell of death enveloped Guayaquil like a collective madness that was everywhere, bodies piled up inside hospitals, on the streets, some lying where they died. Vultures circled overhead. That is when . . .
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