Top virologist: Fewer infections in Belgium, but hospitals still full

The corona figures in Belgium are moving in the right direction, but there are still many scars, says Belgian top virologist Marc Van Ranst in conversation with Press on Thursday. Although the turning point in the number of new positive tests seems to have been reached, Belgian hospitals are still full.

‘Christmas in a small circle doesn’t mean it can’t be meaningful’

In recent days, Belgium counted 351 positive tests for every 100,000 people, whereas a few weeks ago it was still above 1,000. However, it is still too early to be positive, says Van Ranst.

“When you look at that figure, you think: well done. We are doing better than Germany, but we must not forget that we have been very high”, says Van Ranst. “We still bear the scars of that in the fact that the hospitals are still full and they still have a lot of work in intensive care with COVID-19 patients, unlike other countries that have remained lower in the number of infections. . “

The worst that can happen is that a country remains on a high ‘plateau’ of infections, a straight line in the contamination curve, explains Van Ranst. “Once you go down in the number of diagnosed infections, it is important to keep going down at some speed. Otherwise you are doing your health sector absolutely no pleasure.”

Therefore, according to the top virologist, care should be taken with easing. “Every relaxation has an influence, and you want to ensure that you reach a level where normal care can function in an ordinary way. Only then can you think about serious relaxation.”

Van Ranst therefore understands that the Netherlands would like to wait a while before making recommendations for celebrating the holidays. Given the current situation with the virus, it is not yet clear which direction the virus is heading, and governments should therefore be cautious about relaxing measures during the holidays.

“It is still a month until Christmas. That is still a long time,” said Van Ranst. “And I am still very curious about the development of the virus in the United States after Thanksgiving.”

Van Ranst understands that people want to celebrate Christmas with family as they are used to. “But on the other hand, we all have to understand that this cannot happen this year. Everyone is going to celebrate Christmas and I can hope that with the modern means of communication that there are now as much contact as possible is maintained. the family, I wouldn’t recommend that at the moment. “

Christmas will be more subdued this year, and will be celebrated intimately in our own circle, says the top virologist. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a meaningful Christmas.”

Listen to the entire interview with Marc Van Ranst on Friday morning in the Press podcast This will be the news.

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