Turkiye may face intensive care load amid coronavirus surge

The rate of people in need of intensive care after being infected with the coronavirus may increase in mid-February, the head of a Turkish medical association warned Thursday, News.Az reports citing Daily Sabah.

Professor Oktay Demirkıran, chair of the Turkish Society of Intensive Care, told the Sabah newspaper that they anticipate a rise in COVID-19 cases after the ongoing semester break, a two-week holiday for 18 million students and their families, "as the contacts between people are not as low as necessary (to eliminate the chain of infection) and rate of vaccination is not at the desired level."

Turkiye is embattled with a new surge in cases stemming from the fast-spreading omicron variant. In about one month, the number of cases, which fluctuated between 20,000 and 30,000 daily, reached 70,000. On Wednesday, the country reported the latest uptick in daily cases with 77,434 new cases, a bit lower than the record 77,722 reported in one day, two weeks ago.

"The disease can be severe for people in risk groups. We see people at the age of 65 and above who did not receive booster shots in intensive care units. We see a rise in intensive care patients in Istanbul and other big cities," Demirkıran said Wednesday.

Though omicron was viewed as less deadly than previous variants, it still poses a lethal risk for people in risk groups as is indicated by daily fatalities, which were recorded as 188 Wednesday.

"Omicron is not less damaging than others as the number of deaths indicates," Demirkıran said.

He listed people under risk as "unvaccinated, people with a weak or suppressed immune system, people who were not administered with booster shots within six months after their doses, people with obesity and high blood pressure."

He called upon people to adhere to measures like wearing protective masks and social distancing.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca had also urged the public earlier to adhere to measures and maintain social distancing in particular, "up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) from each other."

"Even if the virus mutates, our measures don't. Individual measures are more important than ever today," Koca had said in a written statement last month.


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