The numbers continue to skyrocket every day. In Turkey, COVID-19 cases have risen above 70,000. But does it mean there has been an unexpected increase or that the pandemic is not under control?
I asked this question to one of the scientists on the Coronavirus Science Committee, professor Levent Yamanel, last night. I asked him whether the committee is concerned about the increase of the numbers and whether this is stemming from noncompliance with the rules.
He said the increase in cases did not come as a big surprise for the committee. "It is rapidly increasing," he said, "because the number of the tests are increasing every day."
The more tests that are conducted, the more infected that are found. Actually, we should compare the number of cases with the number of patients in intensive care and with the number who are intubated.
If we do that, we see that in Turkey the ratio is quite low, which provides hope. The death rate is around 2%, and the beds for intensive care seem to be enough at the moment.
This, of course, should not mean that the measures should be dropped or that the lockdown rules should change. Turkey’s coronavirus spread started late, so we should be careful.
But is it enough to just be careful, or is global cooperation needed?
I asked this question to many professors working to combat the pandemic and got a clear answer: No, it is not enough.
To defeat COVID-19, global cooperation is needed, but there seems to be very little. On the contrary, some countries are starting to lessen their rules for social distancing in an attempt to return life back to normal.
As a liberal democrat, I would be more than happy to go back to the good old days of freedom, but are we there yet?
Denmark opened its schools already, and Germany and France are preparing to do it at the beginning of May. In Czechia, shops are opening again, and Italy has also started to lift some lockdown rules.
Many scientists in the field think these are very rapid steps, and the world might face new waves of the pandemic if the lockdowns end too soon.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country had achieved fragile intermediate success, but this success came with strict measures. There is no vaccination and no medicine yet.
So, I think these countries are taking early steps that might affect us and the rest of the world as well.
Particularly in France where the numbers are very high and the capacities of the hospitals are not sufficient, another wave might be even more dangerous.
It is very sad to see that there is no coherence between world leaders to defeat a common enemy. Perhaps an international board of scientists who can advise governments would be wise. At the moment it is crucial politicians listen to credible scientists.