Too early for relaxations of covid measures says top virologist Marion Koopmans
In the short term, there will be little room for relaxation of the Covid measures. That was the advice presented by Outbreak Management Team (OMT) member Marion Koopmans. Given the rising infection rates, we are probably at the beginning of a third wave, according to the virologist.
The picture we see now reminds Koopmans of what we saw after the summer of last year, before the start of the second wave. "We can now see the increase a bit more among young people and children, who are now also being tested a lot more. What we fear is that it will shift to those older groups. We are already seeing an increase among other age groups."
South African variant
The number of hospital admissions is not too bad now. According to Koopmans, the chances are likely that these will also increase in the near future if the infections spread from the young to the elderly. The latter group will end up in hospitals more often.
Whether the increase in the number of infections continues, according to Koopmans, also depends on two other factors that are difficult to predict. "It depends on how much people still adhere to the measures," says Koopmans. "We will also see a further increase in the circulation of variants. We are now dealing with the British and South African variant. The latter does not spread as much but seems to be less sensitive to the vaccination."
Unlike at the beginning of the second wave, we are now dealing with a group of elderly people who have been vaccinated. Koopmans says that "it is actually a kind of race against time. On the one hand, you hear that everyone is ready for relaxation. But if you look at how many people have not been vaccinated, it is still just too early."
The speed of the vaccinations is very important, according to Koopmans. "When that comes together, we will see that there is room for relaxation."