ICU expert: With Covid end in sight, don’t relax lockdown now
Dutch Association for Intensive Care chair Diederik Gommers expressed his concerns over the loosening of lockdown measures planned for Wednesday. "I wouldn't relax measures. With the finish in sight, I wouldn't do it,” Gommers said during an interview for television program Beau on Monday night.
It was rumored on Monday that the first stage of the lockdown easing, including the reopening of terraces, the elimination of shopping-by-appointment at retailers, and the elimination of the curfew will go forth as planned on Wednesday as ministers saw no reason to reverse or adjust their plan, sources close to the Cabinet said.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I would not relax measures on Wednesday. I understand that there is a lot of pressure to get rid of the curfew. But as a doctor I say, given what we have been doing all this time, this is the worst time to relax.”
People getting together around Easter created the problem now, he said, with the total number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care above 800 for 11 straight days. There are nearly 2,600 total coronavirus patients in hospitals as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the LCPS. “At the beginning of April the weather was nice, everyone was close together in the parks. You can see that now in the hospital figures. Moreover, people are currently not too concerned with a number of coronavirus measures, such as the regulation on household visitors. We expect that behavior will not get better because of these relaxations.”
Gommers previously argued that although relaxing some measures on their own won’t cause a new peak, but it could very likely lead people to disobey the remaining rules which are staying in force. “That is dangerous. We have already partly stopped the critically planned care operations that are necessary within six weeks. You cannot do that for very long. That is why I keep saying: realize that in hospitals it is still very difficult,” said Gommers.
The intensive care units throughout the country will remain busy even if Covid hospitalizations fall because medical centers whose staff is already mentally and physically exhausted have to get caught up on providing care to non-coronavirus patients, according to Gommers.