Worst case scenario still possible; 6,000 hospitalized Covid patients by Dec. 1
While there are indications that the peak of the second wave of coronavirus infections may be approaching, the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients is still in line with the worst case scenario, Ernst Kuipers of the national acute care network LNAZ said in a briefing to parliament on Tuesday. Worst case scenario is 6 thousand Covid-19 patients in hospital on December 1, NOS reports.
On Tuesday there were 1,829 coronavirus patients in the nursing wards and 529 in intensive care. According to Kuipers, the hope now is that the contamination number R, the number of people a Covid-19 patient infects, is already below 1. If it is not, the peak of the second wave will be in the week of November 17 at the earliest, he said.
In the worst case scenario, in which the current partial lockdown has no effect on the rising Covid-19 infections, there will be 6 thousand coronavirus patients in hospital on December 1 - 4,730 in nursing wards and 1,567 in ICU. That is much more than the around 4,500 hospitalized patients at the peak of the first coronavirus wave. Two weeks ago, Kuipers' worst case scenario still assumed 5,700 hospitalized patients.
"For the hospitals we really need to see a leveling off now, so that we reach a plateau at the beginning of November. If that does not happen, we will really be in trouble," Kuipers said. According to him, the quality of healthcare is at risk if 25 percent or more of regular care is scaled down. The current best case scenario has 35 percent of regular care scaled down. In the worst case scenario, regular care will have to be scaled down 76 percent.
Jacco Wallinga, modeller for public health institute RIVM, told AD that there are indications that the second wave is approaching its peak. But Jaap van Dissel, head of infectious disease at the RIVM, told parliament that this is difficult to say with certainty based on the current number of infections.
"Is it stable, is it increasing or is it decreasing? We are currently facing that dilemma," he said. "For a number of days there have been around 10 thousand infections per day. We are convinced that there is a leveling off. But we do not know whether it is also decreasing. The image is mixed. It is too early to tell if it's tilted."
Despite this uncertainty, Van Dissel thinks the Netherlands is on track for the second wave's peak to be reached early in November. But he stressed that anything can still change. "It is too early to say that we will definitely go down. The coming days will be critical."
The RIVM looked at what would happen if stricter measures are implemented in the coming weeks, for example closing schools and more travel restrictions. According to Van Dissel, this will have no effect on the peak - the number of patients will be the same and it will be reached early in November. "But it does have an effect on the speed of decline, and that also has an effect on the burden of healthcare."