Healthcare sector fears flu epidemic in winter
The healthcare sector is concerned about the strain a flu epidemic in the winter could put on the healthcare system, Het Parool reported.
The population had less chance to get infected with the flu in the past one and a half years, due to social distancing rules being in place. People have also been washing their hands more frequently and staying at home when they show symptoms of sickness. Now that the 1.5-meter distance rule will no longer stay in effect after September 25, the flu will have the chance to spread again.
“If you are infected with the flu, your immune system gets a boost against the virus. Now that we haven’t come in contact with flu that often, we are more susceptible to it than in previous years,” former GP and chair of the Dutch Influenza Foundation Ted van Essen told Het Parool.
A number of flu patients are expected to be admitted to hospital with a lung infection or heart failure. Additionally, the Outbreak Management Team expected the number of Covid-19 patients in the ICU to reach 250 this winter.
The RIVM ordered an extra 700 thousand flu vaccines this year, not only due to the pandemic but also the aging population.
Van Essen hoped that many learned through the pandemic the importance of medical care. “The pandemic raised awareness about viruses and the difference vaccines can make,” the GP said.