If people would fully observe virus prevention rules, the coronavirus would infect fewer members of the public and the outbreak would end in 20 days at most, a member of the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 task force said.
According to professor Tevfik Özlü, the end is in sight, but only under one condition: the whole nation showing full compliance with protective rules. Özlü, a member of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Board which oversees preventative measures, says it is possible to stop infections and end the outbreak nationwide in “15-20 days” if the public is more careful about wearing masks and observing social distancing and other rules recommended by the authorities.
Certainly, it seems like an enormous task, as a large number of people seem to be ignoring the rules. Media reports are awash with photos and videos of people ditching masks in crowded areas despite fines and routine police patrols.
Özlü says people have two options to stave off the deadly consequences of the coronavirus pandemic: getting vaccinated and having already recovered from the virus, which helps develop immunity, at least for a time. With no vaccine in sight and a low rate of immunity, according to nationwide testing, these options will likely remain unavailable for a long time. The professor also said there are still questions that need to be answered about the nature and impact of the virus.
“Though the majority of the infected people develop antibodies against COVID-19, antibodies’ protective features against the virus are still unclear. Some patients develop immunity for life while others have an immunity span up to four months,” Özlü told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Thursday. Sensitive cells of the immune system can help the body to develop immunity, but it is still unknown how effective the development of these antibodies is on a community level. “Even in countries with a high rate of cases, the rate of people whose bodies developed antibodies against the virus remains around 7%. This figure is very, very low in Turkey. So, it is unrealistic to expect the pandemic to end with people gaining immunity,” Özlü said.
The virus is also known to mutate quickly, making it challenging to develop a vaccine.
Thus, the only option to ward off the outbreak is three rules: masks, social distancing and hygiene. “We must focus on protection from the virus. The outbreak may continue elsewhere, but if we care about wearing face masks, keeping our distance and adhering to personal hygiene rules, we can stop it. In 15-20 days, the virus will disappear,” he said.