Lower immunity against respiratory viruses could mean Covid measures in Fall, expert says
Coronavirus restrictions caused immunity for other respiratory viruses, such as the RS virus, to decline. That means certain measures might still be needed in the Fall to protect the vulnerable, member of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) Menno de Jong told AT5.
On November 1, all coronavirus measures will be lifted, as long as coronavirus infection figures continue to fall, the Cabinet announced on Friday. “If we really let all restrictions go in November then a number of other respiratory viruses, such as the flu and the RS virus will gain ground as well”, De Jong said. Immunity against other respiratory viruses has declined in the population due to limited social contact.
“It could be that we get the flu or an RS virus outbreak.” A large number of children were admitted to hospital this summer with the RS virus. “That is bizarre”, De Jong stated. The RS virus usually spreads in winter, but due to the coronavirus lockdown, hardly any children were infected this past winter
The OMT member was less worried about the coronavirus making a huge comeback once the weather cools down. “Vaccines are actually quite effective even against the delta variant”, De Jong said.
As the vaccination campaign progresses and people infected with the coronavirus experience less severe symptoms, the pressure will move from hospitals to GPs. “We need to realize that vaccines prevent hospital admissions and deaths but you see a decline in the seriousness of the infections. They become less serious which leads to a greater strain on GPs and paramedical care”, De Jong said.
As schools reopen and people return from holiday “we need to keep the finger on the pulse”, according to De Jong. “Around 20 percent of infections people contract while on vacation.”
Higher education will take place on-site again with certain restrictions from August 30 onwards. “Of course we are taking a risk with reopening schools but I think it is a worthwhile risk”, De Jong said.