Tunca Özlen / Duvar

There are some groups of people who may be more at risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus, such as: people with HIV, the elderly, transgender people in transition, chronic patients, migrants and prisoners.

Red Istanbul Istanbul advises people with HIV to continue their medications, to pay attention to their hygiene, and says that as long as they take care of their body, they should not be in fear.

Red Ribbon Istanbul is a civil society organization that aims to raise awareness and provide information on HIV.

Secondly, transgender people who are at a certain stage of their sex transition are considered to be vulnerable to the virus, especially due to their frequent visits to the hospital. They are advised to wear protection masks in the crowded spaces.

A transgender individual with whom I talked, said that he was frequently visiting the department of endocrinology of Istanbul Çapa University to take hormones but the department was open only on Mondays, which led to long queues to form – making patients vulnerable to the transmission of the virus.

As for the elderly, when looked at the statistics, the virus is more likely to make the elderly sick. According to the statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), patients above 80 years of age have an alarmingly high fatality rate of 14.8 percent, whereas patients aged 70 -79 years have a fatality rate of 8 percent.

Therefore, if an individual falls into the category of both HIV positive and the elderly, then they need to be much more careful and stay away from crowded places, until the coronavirus threat goes away.

People who have chronic illnesses are also at increased risk. People who suffer from a heart trouble have a fatality rate of 10.5 percent, should they contract the virus. This figure is 6 percent for those who suffer from a chronic respiratory disease, have hypertension or are cancer patients.

Another risk group is migrants, who are used by the ruling government as a “political tool” and have problems in terms accessing basic health facilities.

Prisoners consist of another high-risk group as the virus is more likely to spread in closed spaces. Also incarcerated people are vulnerable due their limited access to basic hygiene measures and their high rates of existing health issues.

The basic precaution against the virus is giving importance to personal hygiene. And in case we show symptoms of the virus, we should consult the health officials immediately and not leave the house until the treatment is finalized.

And the most important of all is, we should look out for each other. This is neither the first nor the last disaster we are to face. Solidarity always keeps people alive.