Covid-19 rise a sign of possible second wave; "This is a wake-up call" says expert
News of an alarming increase in the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the Netherlands must serve as a reminder to people to remain cautious and vigilant, said Aura Timen, the head of the Center for Infectious Disease Control. She said her team feared people have become too cavalier and were ignoring the prevailing advice, including maintaining a safe physical distance of at least 1.5 meters from others.
She noted the "significant increase" in every benchmark which measures the spread of the novel coronavirus responsible for respiratory illness Covid-19. It includes the near doubling of positive tests for the virus recorded last week, the rise in the percentage of people getting a positive result out of all those who were tested, and the rise in the basic reproduction number of the virus to 1.29, which means that every 100 infected patients will likely pass the virus on to 129 others.
"If this continues, we can lose control of the virus. This is a wake-up call: we cannot go on like this," she told broadcaster NOS on Tuesday. She said that if the situation continues to deteriorate, the risk of a second wave of infections becomes more likely.
Marc Bonten, an epidemiologist at UMC Utrecht said that should the if the circumstance dictates, "measures will need to be quickly taken which target young people. Because they seem to be the cause of the increase," he told the Telegraaf.
Just last week a milestone was reached with the fewest number of Covid-19 patients in hospital since early March. However, on Tuesday public health agency RIVM said SARS-CoV-2 was now spreading at its worst rate since March 12, which led to a sharp spike in hospitalizations for Covid-19 and a subsequent increase in deaths linked to the disease.
"We have all reduced the virus by following the measures well," Timen told the broadcaster. "We have to get back to that behavior," she continued. "People now have a sense of freedom and want to catch up on parties," a decision which has consequences. "Our concern is that the measures are no longer being observed."
She said people have to continue to adhere to the advice from the RIVM by first remaining strict about keeping a 1.5-meter physical distance from people. This includes staying home as much as possible. They also have to wash their hands frequently, sneeze or cough into their elbow, and use disposable tissues. At the onset of symptoms like a fever, cold or flu, people must call the municipal health service GGD to schedule a test for an active SARS-CoV-2 infection.