Expert urges people to use face masks as cases spike

Expert urges people to use face masks as cases spike

Expert urges people to use face masks as cases spike

An expert has warned of the requirement of face masks as the number of infections has skyrocketed in the last month, adding that the spread and death rates in high-risk groups would increase.

“The face mask mandate should be introduced in closed areas and on public transportation again,” said Cavit Işık Yavuz, a public health specialist, said, underlining that the protection measures left to individual preference cannot prevent the pandemic.

Even vaccinated people with face masks could be infected due to those who don’t wear face masks in closed environments, Yavuz said.

“When the person in front of you doesn’t wear a face mask, the protection of your mask also decreases, but I still recommend everyone to wear double face masks in closed and crowded environments,” the expert added.

“The new sub-variants of BA.4 and BA.5, which are much more contagious due to the lack of public health measures, continue to spread. If these measures are not implemented, there may be a risk that those who have the disease will be reinfected within two or three months,” Yavuz said.

The expert also pointed out that the increase in the number of cases pose a serious risk for individuals who aren’t up to date on vaccination, have serious diseases or low immunity as the cases in those over the age of 65 has increased by 32 percent in Europe.

Warning that the spread and death rates in high-risk groups would increase, Yavuz said, “It’s not time to soften the stance, it’s time to take action,” he added.

“Even if only 25 percent of the measures recommended by scientists are applied, many people can avoid being infected,” said Ali Ağaçfidan, a professor from Istanbul University.

The risk of transmitting the virus within one meter or less of an infected person in a closed environment is 99 percent, Ağaçfidan said, adding that the face mask is the only way to be protected at close range, but it is not possible for the pandemic to end without a face mask mandate in closed areas.

A total of 406,322 COVID-19 cases were reported in Türkiye between July 25 and Aug. 5, the Health Ministry said in its weekly coronavirus statistics.

According to the ministry’s data, 337 COVID-19 patients lost their lives, while 387,653 people recovered from the infection between July 25 and Aug. 5

Since the first COVID-19 case was reported in March 2020, the coronavirus has infected nearly 16.3 million people and killed nearly 100,000 in Türkiye.

In the period between July 18 and 24, the number of weekly cases was 365,424, while 157 patients lost their lives and 265,962 recovered.

Based on the last two weeks of data announced by the ministry, the number of cases has increased 16 times and the number of deaths seven times compared to a month ago.

While the increase in the number of weekly cases has soared to 61 percent, the number of patients COVID-19 killed increased by 64 percent.

The rate of those who have received two doses of the jab is 85.5 percent across the country, according to the ministry’s data, as over 28 million people got their third dose.