Coronavirus deaths in Turkey to hit as high as 600,000, says professor

At least 32 million people in Turkey are expected to be infected with the coronavirus, economics professor Onur Başer told Deutsche Welle Turkish on Monday.

Thirty two million infected people “means 150,000 to 600,000 deaths,” said Başer of the University of Michigan.

The data suggests 1.6 million people will need hospitalisation in Turkey, Başer said, with at least 640,000 people needing intensive care units. “There are some 40,000 ICU beds now,” he said.

If there are not enough respirators for patients who need them, fatality rates go up to 90 percent, Başer said.

The professor, whose work focuses on healthcare systems, estimates some 320,000 patients in Turkey will need respirators during their treatment.

Since the first case was officially announced on March 11, Turkish authorities have confirmed 1,236 cases and 30 deaths.

The number of cases will increase, as Turkey will be administering more tests, Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca said on Monday. Some 20,000 tests have been administered to date.

A two-week delay in China’s response to the outbreak has resulted in 95 percent more cases, Başer said.

“If China had implemented measures when it first learned of this virus, there would have been 95 percent fewer cases. A week later, it would have been 65 percent. We are facing this many cases because of a two week delay.”