Sinan Adıyaman, head of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), has said that the Health Ministry’s recent change in the COVID-19 parameters released every night was an effort of the government to “distort the picture” in a way that fits its agenda.
As of July 29, the Health Ministry made a change to the “Turkey Daily Coronavirus Sheet” it discloses every night. It removed the number of intensive care unit and intubated patients from the sheet and instead began to share the number of “seriously ill” patients and the pneumonia rate among COVID-19 patients.
“The removal of the number of intensive care unit and intubated patients from the sheet is in contradiction with the seriousness of the situation in an environment where our patients are struggling for their lives while in intensive care unit and intubation. This causes the public not to comprehend the seriousness of the situation and the adaption not be maintained,” Adıyaman said on July 30.
Adıyaman said that the Health Ministry’s move will lead to a panic among the people as they will interpret the removal of the relevant parameters as a darkening outlook in coronavirus infection data.
“The change done in the sheet on July 29 night will push people into panic with the thought that ‘the number of intensive care unit and intubated patients must be very bad.’ This will shake the citizens’ confidence in the government and Health Minister in the pandemic management. This is a very serious problem for all of us,” he said.
“Pandemic data and information do not have to fit just one sheet shared on Twitter and web page [of the Health Ministry]. The addition of two new parameters in the sheet does not necessitate the removal of two others. The removed data are now hidden from the public. On the contrary, it is [normally] expected [of the authorities] to share more data.”
Daily coronavirus cases on the rise, says Health Minister Koca
Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on July 31 said that the number of daily COVID-19 patients in Turkey was back on the rise. “The number of pneumonia patients shows a falling trend, whereas the number of newly diagnosed patients shows an increasing trend,” Koca wrote.
Koca also said that Istanbul, the capital Ankara, the Central Anatolian province of Konya and the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep and Diyarbakır registered the highest increase in the number of “seriously ill patients” in the last three days. Some 27 other provinces on the other hand did not register any “seriously ill patients,” he said.
According to figures Koca shared, Turkey reported 982 new COVID-19 cases on July 31, bringing the total tally 230,873. A total of 17 more patients lost their lives due to the disease, bringing the death toll to 5,961.