Official weekly coronavirus data shows 20% increase affecting all age groups
During the seven-day period ending at 10 a.m. on Tuesday a total of 82,340 people in the Netherlands were registered by public health agency RIVM as having tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection. It was the third week in a row, and the first full week after entering a lockdown, that the number of new coronavirus infections was higher among every age group monitored by the Netherlands.
"The advance of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the Netherlands is continuing unabated. It is too early to see the effects of the lockdown that was announced on December 15," the RIVM said in a statement. It said that 509,644 people were tested for the viral infection last week by municipal health service GGD, up over eight percent.
While initially the results appeared to be 41 percent higher than the week before, about six thousand of those whose positive tests were reported by the agency over the past week should actually have been included the previous week, but an IT error at municipal health service GGD prevented that from happening. That meant that the real increase was closer to 19 percent.
The new data means that the moving average for new daily infections rose on Tuesday to 11,763, the twentieth day in a row where that figure has risen. Overall, an estimated 13.6 percent of all people who self-reported for a coronavirus test were given a positive diagnosis, up from 12.1 percent the week earlier.
The basic reproduction (R) number remained nearly unchanged at 1.25, meaning that 100 people contagious with the virus will infect 125 others. An estimated 122 thousand people were contagious with the viral infection at the start of the month, 35 percent higher than towards the end of November.
The regular care wards at hospitals took on 17 percent more coronavirus patients last week, equaling 1,549 in total. They also moved 287 Covid-19 patients into intensive care during that time, an increase of 25 percent. On Monday, acute care expert Ernst Kuipers predicted this figure would continue to rise through the end of the month, with the Dutch government expecting a peak at some point in January.
For the better part of ten months, the hospital system has treated 29,212 people with the SARS-CoV-2 infection in regular care. An estimated 6,274 Covid-19 patients were treated in intensive care, with the ICU survival rate at about 72 percent.
According to the RIVM, another 472 deaths were also linked to Covid-19 last week, reflecting a 19-percent increase. Some 10,633 people are known to have died from Covid-19 since the end of February, though in reality that figure was likely to be much higher as many people were not quickly diagnosed with the illness at the start of the pandemic.
On Monday, the Netherlands crossed 700 thousand diagnosed infections since the beginning of the pandemic. That rose to 710,683 with Tuesday's data.
Infections per capita rose in all age groups
Those between 10 and 19 represented the age group with the most infections, an estimated 12,546 based on data from the last two RIVM weekly reports, with people in their twenties testing positive 12,490 times last week. The population of people in their fifties tested positive 11,316 in total, followed by those in their forties being diagnosed 10,419 times.
The coronavirus infection was most prevalent among the population of people aged 13 to 17, with those from 18 to 24 ranking second. An average of over 717 people in their late teens was diagnosed with the infection last week for every 100 thousand in that age group.
From children up through the elderly, the infection was more widely found in all age groups last week. That's the third week in a row where all age groups showed a higher per capita rate of infection.
Where are people getting infected?
The branches of municipal health service GGD were able to trace over 42 thousand infection sources last week, and said that over half of those cases resulted in household members infecting each other. About nine thousand cases, or 21 percent, were tied to visits to someone in another household.
Offices, workspaces and job sites were identified as the source of infection in over 16 percent of cases, about seven thousand in total. Schools and daycare centers were also linked to about eight percent of new infections, while nursing homes and other residential care centers were tied to over five percent of cases.
The RIVM also said that 724 people diagnosed with the infection tested positive within two weeks of entering the Netherlands from a foreign country. Some 252 tested positive after a stay in Germany, 147 had been in Belgium, and 33 entered from the United Kingdom.
The Netherlands placed a ban on all passenger flights and ferry services from the United Kingdom over the weekend, as that country contends with a highly contagious mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In addition to the flight ban, Belgium said it would not allow trains from the UK to enter, while France forbade traffic via the Channel Tunnel.
That meant that it was extremely difficult for people in the UK to travel to the Netherlands by any mode of transportation. The Dutch government hoped to lift the ban if it could rely on travel operators to monitor passengers for a negative Covid-19 test.