“Drastic” intervention needed to stop coronavirus advance: ICU leader
It is time for the government to consider "drastic intervention" in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, including unpopular measures like mandatory face masks in public spaces, Ernst Kuipers, chairman of the Netherlands' National Acute Care Network, said to NPO Radio 1. "With the rapidly increasing infections, it is clear that the measures that were introduced ten days ago are not sufficient," he said.
The "limited" additional measures like closing pubs and restaurants earlier will not reduce the number of coronavirus infections on their own, Kuipers said. "That means you have to take drastic action," he said. "You can think of a whole range. Including mandatory masks in publicly accessible spaces. But also further reducing group size, stopping spectators at major sports matches, and again calling on people to work from home."
Despite the RIVM always arguing that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that masks are effective in the fight against the coronavirus, Kuipers considers a mask obligation to be "sensible", he said to the broadcaster. "Face masks do work, they have been used for years and years in the OR and ICU. There is a lot of literature on how they do have some effect. They are not completely effective, but every little bit can help in this situation."
"The increase in the number of infections will inevitably result in more ICU admissions. The duty to wear a mask, in combination with a series of other measures, will ultimately ensure fewer admissions," Kuipers said.
The number of coronavirus infections is increasing alarmingly in the Netherlands. Last week 17,857 people tested positive for Covid-19, including 2,999 on Sunday. The Netherlands set a new record for SARS-CoV-2 infections for six of the seven days last week.
On Sunday, hospitals in the Netherlands were treating 617 people for the coronavirus. That patient total was five times higher than on September 2, and has risen every day since that date. Last week's rate of increase was 8.5 percent. If that continues, there will be 1,100 Covid-19 patients in Dutch hospitals by this coming Sunday, and 2 thousand within two weeks.
The Red team, a team of experts in various fields, also recently advised the government to reconsider masks in public spaces in the fight against skyrocketing infections.