TTB findings reveal alarming scale of coronavirus pandemic in Turkey

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The latest survey results released by the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) show that the number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey has tripled in the last month, reaching 1 million, with more than 47,000 daily cases countrywide.

The TTB family medicine branch conducted a survey between Nov. 9 and 15 on 1,270 family doctors from 73 Turkish provinces regarding last month’s statistics related to the coronavirus infection.

TTB family medicine branch member Emrah Kırımlı shared the results on Friday, underlining that the coronavirus pandemic had reached alarming levels in Turkey.

“The number of daily coronavirus cases has reached 12,631 in İstanbul and 47, 629 countrywide. A million people were infected with the virus within the last month. The coronavirus death rate almost quadrupled. It wouldn’t be like this if they [government officials] hadn’t ignored our warnings.”

Kırımlı also said the average number of people testing positive for the coronavirus for each family physician, which was 6.53 in October, tripled to 19.79 in November countrywide, adding that the number increased 31 percent in İstanbul, 23 percent in Ankara and 14 percent in İzmir.

He said the current number of contact tracers is inadequate to monitor a million people. 

The rate of COVID-19 infections among Turkey’s family health staff increased from 40 to 51 percent within a month, which amounts to 5,000 infected health workers, Kırımlı also said.

Criticizing the Health Ministry for allocating a bigger share of the budget to private hospitals, Kırımlı said: “The minister says their resources are limited. Having limited resources is one thing. Choosing the people who can benefit from them is another. A society that refuses to offer medical treatment to poor people cannot say it’s civilized.”

“We don’t see them [the government] making much effort to prevent the disease. The measures not taken will lead to thousands of deaths [due to coronavirus].”

“We have lost control of the pandemic. A method of fighting the pandemic that puts the blame and the responsibility on the public and the workload on health workers was doomed to fail,” TTB Central Council Member Kazım Doğan Eroğulları also pointed out.

TTB family medicine branch secretary Nuri Seha Yüksel said Turkey has come to a point where a person dies from COVID-19 every 10 minutes, “even according to official data from the Health Ministry.”

The Turkish government has been criticized for lacking transparency in its handling of the pandemic ever since it reported the first COVID-19 case back in March. The Health Ministry announces in a daily chart the number of “patients” who are being treated in hospitals for coronavirus, while people who have been infected with the virus but not hospitalized are excluded from the numbers.

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