The Netherlands is on the right track to overcoming coronavirus crisis: RIVM
As Covid-19 vaccination figures rise and the summer is starting to get into full gear, coronavirus infection numbers have been steadily declining for the past weeks in the Netherlands. Director of Infectious Disease Control at the RIVM, Jaap van Dissel, and chief RIVM modeler, Jacco Wallinga said to NOS they are both optimistic that the Netherlands will continue making progress in the fight against the coronavirus.
One of the main reasons Wallinga and Van Dissel stated that infection numbers have been sinking is due to an increase in the number of people who are vaccinated against Covid-19. “Based on what we could expect if we assume that we would not vaccinate, you can say that almost all progress is due to vaccination”, Wallinga said.
“The fact that so many people are now being vaccinated so quickly is causing the number of people susceptible to the coronavirus to rapidly decline, much faster than natural infections ever would have”, the RIVM modeler continued.
Van Dissel was also optimistic about the effects of vaccines, "We have shown that the vaccine protects the oldest people very reasonably against illness, but especially against hospitalization and death."
There are also clear seasonal differences in the number of coronavirus infections, yet what exactly the cause for the seasonal change is not fully clear, according to Wallinga. “We don’t know whether the rising temperatures are the cause of changes in the reproduction number. It could also be that people go outside more in the summer and that the virus can therefore spread less easily.”
Yet the RIVM head figures cautioned that an eye will need to be kept on the spread of the delta coronavirus variant. The Ministry of Health imposed a quarantine obligation for travelers from the UK starting on Tuesday due to the spread of the delta variant.
“What is happening in England is worrying but it is difficult to translate the situation directly to the Netherlands. We cannot say that it is a very big problem for us”, Wallinga said. “We have to be realistic; we are heading in the right direction but the race is not over.”