'First wave of pandemic isn't over' as Turkey starts normalization

Turkey shouldn't worry about the third wave of COVID-19 infections coming on after the relaxation of precautions, because the country never really got over the first wave of infections, Turkish Medical Association (TTB) member Prof. Kayıhan Pala said. It's also not possible to debate the country's pandemic process effectively because of state data inconsistencies, Pala added.

Osman Çaklı / DUVAR

It would be inaccurate to talk about a third wave of COVID-19 infections in Turkey, as official data never allowed experts to note whether or not the country ever got over the first wave of infections, Prof. Kayıhan Pala of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said.

The Turkish Health Ministry revealed multiple times that they had previously been deceptive about data they released, with the first time revealing that they had only been reporting symptomatic cases, and not asymptomatic patients to the public until the start of October. 

"Turkey never got over the first wave. The cases revealed on Dec. 10 saw a spike of 1.19 million patients in one day. We can't have a healthy debate amid such corrupt data," Pala said. 

The Health Ministry data makes it seem like the number of cases fell from the 30,000 range a few months ago to the 5,000 range recently, Pala noted, adding that this is only because the ministry restricted the number of tests they report.

"We would need the number of tests to remain stable to be able to efficiently evaluate the impact of the curfews. The number of cases drops inevitably when the number of tests decreases," Pala said.

The government has also been hypocritical in their adherence to COVID-19 precautions they implemented themselves, Pala said, noting the mass events held by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) during the national restrictions and weekend lockdowns.