SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – New estimates about the spread of coronavirus in the autumn and winter are more unfavourable than thought earlier, government health advisors have said in their latest assessment of the pandemic.
‘There is a larger degree of uncertainty and a large increase in hospital and IC admissions cannot be ruled out,’ the Outbreak Managment Team say in their most recent report.
After social distancing was scrapped on September 25, the number of infections had risen within two weeks, and this makes it inadvisable to relax the rules even more, the OMT said.
On Tuesday, public health institute RIVM said the number of new infections had surged 48% over the past week to almost 3,000 a day.
If the current measures remain in the place – in particular the use of the CoronaCheck app to visit cafes, bars and clubs and the 75% capacity rule – the OMT expects a new peak in IC admissions by mid-January, taking the total number of beds to 180 to 400.
But if these measures are scrapped, IC occupancy could be as high as 800, the OMT said. There are currently around 140 people with coronavirus on IC wards The OMT will next meet on October 29 and the government is due to decide what to do next by the November 5 press conference.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Tuesday that the elderly will be able to get a third booster shot of vaccine from November. And he told television talk show Op1 on Tuesday night that he expected the coronavirus pass system ‘will be needed for a while longer’.