Difficult autumn expected as Delta coronavirus variant spreads through NL
With the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus already spreading through the Netherlands, experts believe the country is in for a difficult autumn. Because even if he vaccination campaign goes exactly according to plan, a large number of Netherlands residents will still not be protected against Covid-19. Which means that some lockdown restrictions may have to be implemented, they said to newspaper AD.
Currently about 45 percent of adults in the Netherlands are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. If all goes according to plan, that number will rise to 85 percent in September. That leaves 15 percent of adults unprotected and vulnerable.
"Let's assume that around 2 million people are not protected. That's a decent population. And if there is a rapid revival of the virus, this can lead to high numbers in hospitals again," Ernst Kuipers, head of the national acute care network LNAZ, said to AD. On average, 1 to 1.5 percent of people infected with the coronavirus end up in hospital, according to public health institute RIVM. So that could mean thousands of hospital admissions.
For that reason, hospitals are still prepared for the worst case scenario, Kuipers said. "We do not expect a wave like last winter, but we have to take it into account."
Experts especially expect coronavirus outbreaks in areas where the vaccination coverage is low. And it may happen that residents in these areas, or even the Netherlands as a whole, will have to comply with lockdown measures whether they've been vaccinated or not. "You can't escape that. It will be exciting to see whether people are willing to adhere to the measures if they have already been vaccinated," Dick Willems, medical ethicist at the University of Amsterdam, said to the newspaper.
This may lead to increasing tensions in society, particularly between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. "Suppose your surgery or that of your mother is postponed because someone who has not been vaccinated is occupying a corona bed. That creates new tensions," a source around the cabinet said to AD.