Delta coronavirus variant won't trigger new lockdown, ICU expert says
The highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is spreading in the Netherlands, with public health institute RIVM estimating that half of current infections were caused by this variant. But Netherlands residents don't have to worry that another lockdown is looming, Diederik Gommers, ICU doctor and head of the Netherlands' intensive care association NVIC, said to BNR.
The Delta variant, first discovered in India, is believed to be 15 percent more contagious than the Alpha variant, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom. The Alpha variant was already 33 percent more contagious than the first variant of SARS-CoV-2 that spread across the earth like wildfire last year.
"If you have sufficient antibodies, you are not at risk," Gommers said. So vaccinated people don't have to be too worried. "You can get the virus, but it won't make you sick. The question is whether you can pass on the virus, we don't know that very well yet."
People who haven't been vaccinated are vulnerable. "When the adult vaccination rate is 75 percent, 25 percent of the 12 million adults are not vaccinated. There are then 3 million people who can still get the Delta variant. The risk that this creates will never be the same as it was in 2020," Gommers said.
So he does not expect another lockdown. "At the moment, we do not expect hospitals to overflow and that we will enter a lockdown again. Because we think we can control it. But that does mean that people's behavior is very important," he said.
Gommers therefore urged Netherlands residents to remain vigilant. Get tested if you have Covid-19 symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, he said.