Turkey failed to register at least 55,000 COVID-19 deaths last year, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said.
Turkey registered 20,881 COVID-19 deaths between March 15 and Dec. 31 2020, according to official data, but this number does not reflect the truth, the medical group said in its “COVID-19 pandemic 18 months evaluation report” published on Tuesday.
“In 2020, among the population aged 65 and over, at least 75,000 people lost their lives due to COVID-19,” it said.
The TTB said that, based on official data such as Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) population information and municipal burial statistics, there were 25,000 additional deaths in Istanbul alone, where one fifth of the country’s population lives, compared to the previous five years.
When all the data obtained from municipalities, government, TUIK and other official channels were analysed in 20 provinces where 42 percent of the population lives, 48,000 additional deaths were recorded in 2020 compared with the average of the last three years, the TTB said.
Abnormally high death rates were also observed this year, it said.
“When we compare the Health Ministry’s official data on daily COVID-19 deaths in Turkey in August and September 2020 and 2021, it is noteworthy that the number of COVID-19 deaths on some days in 2021 are about ten times the deaths on the same days in 2020,” TBB said.
Turkey registered 30,862 new COVID-19 infections on Monday. Deaths totalled 223, the Health Ministry said.
Infections began climbing above 20,000 daily in late July, the highest levels since April, after the government ended daily curfews and travel restrictions at the start that month. New cases numbered less than 5,000 per day in early July.