RIVM: Coronavirus infection decrease seen in all age groups, all regions
The surge in coronavirus cases in the Netherlands this month has started to abate, with the country’s seven-day average for new infections falling for four straight days. That decrease has been witnessed across all demographic groups, said Susan van den Hof, the head of the Center for Epidemiology and Surveillance of Infectious Diseases at the RIVM.
"The number is still quite high, but it is encouraging that we see the decrease in almost all regions and age groups. We only see it among the very oldest, but that concerns very small numbers of infections," she told broadcaster NOS.
"The decrease in the different age groups is perhaps the most important. We could of course have seen that it is declining among the young, but increasing among the older groups due to spread from young people to other age groups, but in fact we see it is currently declining in almost all age groups," added Jaap van Dissel, the director of the RIVM’s Center for Infectious Diseases Control.
Van den Hof was cautiously optimistic about the decreasing number of infections. Over the past seven days there was an 18 percent drop in infections compared to the previous week. Positive tests are declining, and so too are the number of test appointments made at the GGD. “That is why the number of positive test results is not expected to increase again in the short term. We have to wait and see whether it decreases further,” Van den Hof said.
New infections exploded in the Netherlands starting on July 1, The highly contagious Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was already known to be in the Netherlands, and the government still released nearly all lockdown restrictions simultaneously on June 26. A handful of restrictions on the hospitality and events sector were reintroduced on July 10.
“We have established that the virus spread most in the nighttime hospitality industry, and especially at weekends. Those night businesses apparently formed a perfect storm. All kinds of transmission factors came together: People dancing shoulder to shoulder, singing along, or even shouting; talking loudly because of the loud music. And when everyone clumps together, ventilation becomes very difficult. You don't want that spread in the night catering industry to keep repeating itself,” Van Dissel said.
For the time being, the spike in infections in the first 19 days of July, and the high but decreasing infection numbers this week, mean that Covid-19 hospital admissions will continue to rise. There were 477 people being treated for the disease in Dutch hospitals on Friday, up 80 percent in a week. A similar increase would push that total up to 865 by next Friday.