Lockdown prevented roughly 41,000 Covid hospitalizations
The lockdown implemented in mid-December and the curfew and one-visitor limit implemented a month ago together prevented roughly 41 thousand coronavirus hospitalizations, including 6,300 intensive care admissions, Jaap Dissel of public health institute RIVM said in a briefing to parliament on Wednesday, NOS reports.
Since mid-December, just under 15 thousand people were admitted to hospital with the coronavirus, including 2,500 who were admitted to intensive care. According to the RIVM calculations, which maintains a margin of error of 5 percent, that would have been a lot more without the lockdown and curfew.
Van Dissel called the curfew "an important measure in the overall package" of coronavirus measures. "Our interpretation is that the curfew has a significant effect," the director of infectious disease control at the RIVM said to parliament. The health institute estimates that the curfew reduced the coronavirus reproduction number by 10 percent. "When the curfew went into effect, the reproduction number went a step down, from 1.3 to 1.1."
The reproduction number is how many people a coronavirus patient infects. So after the curfew was implemented and the reproduction number dropped, each coronavirus patient infected on average 1.1 other people. For a virus to decline, the reproduction number must be below 1.
According to Van Dissel, the calculation show that the reproduction number will increase again if curfew and the limit on visitors are scrapped.
Van Dissel also said that the B117 strain of the coronavirus is increasingly gaining ground in the Netherlands. The RIVM estimates that this strain of the coronavirus, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, is up to 47 percent more contagious than the original strain. Van Dissel therefore expects that infections will increase as the B117 strain becomes the dominant strain in the country.
At the start of this month, an estimated half of infections were the B117 strain, he said.