Covid hospital admissions could peak in late February: RIVM
Hospital admissions linked to Covid-19 will peak by the end of February, but the exact date and size of the peak is uncertain, said RIVM chief modeler Jacco Wallinga in an interview with NOS. Figures from patient coordinator LCPS show that the number of patients with the disease in current treatment have gone up by 20 percent in a week, with over 190 patients admitted each of the past seven days, the most since Christmas Eve.
While hospital admissions are rising again, there is not yet a major strain on the intensive care units. Wallinga’s calculations could provide favorable scenarios ahead of the Outbreak Management Team’s meeting with the Cabinet next Friday, NOS reported.
“In order not to create too high expectations, we have said that it will take some time…[but] if it turns out that the picture is more favorable, then we will certainly pass it on,” said RIVM director Jaap van Dissel of the possible scenarios.
However, he stressed the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant –– when hospitalizations will peak, what pressure it could put on ICUs and how it will affect the elderly. He pointed out the Omicron variant’s spread among the age groups also differs from that of previous variants and the older populations seem less susceptible so far. Those populations were also the first to have access to booster vaccine shots and represent the highest rates of vaccination per capita.
“If you look at countries in Western Europe, the number of positive tests, hospital and ICU admissions they report, it varies enormously. I am therefore very cautious to draw conclusions that say if it is reasonably low in another country, it will be the same in the Netherlands,” Wallinga said. “At the moment we are getting the data from people who have been admitted with Omicron in the Netherlands. It could very well be it may be that it is not that bad, but we have to see that first."
Asked about the possibility of relaxing more measures, Wallinga said to remember that Omicron has also lead to hospitalizations of younger people. He also noted that there are many people in the country suffering from Long Covid, the syndrome when people remain affected by after-effects of the coronavirus infection months later. Wallinga said, “we do not want to add to that.”