Covid measures no longer needed at this new phase of pandemic, experts say
The coronavirus pandemic is in a new phase that requires no measures, like the current advice to isolate if you have the virus, experts told AD.
Early in October, the Netherlands seemed to be at the start of an autumn wave of Covid-19 infections. But the number of cases is declining rapidly, and there are currently only between 600 and 700 coronavirus patients in hospitals. According to the most recent figures from blood bank Sanquin, about 77 percent of the Netherlands population have antibodies against the virus.
Some infectious disease experts believe we are in a new phase of this pandemic and are calling for the coronavirus to be treated like one of many winter viruses. “It is close to other respiratory infections, so I don’t think we need to do much with it anymore,” medical microbiologist Jean-Luc Murk said to the newspaper. “I think influenza has the potential to cause bigger problems than corona this winter.”
“We can be a little more relaxed about snotty noses. I am optimistic,” epidemilogogist Frits Rosendaal said. He isn’t too worried about virologists’ warning of more severe variants popping up. “It takes quite a complicated scenario to make it go wrong again. You can’t rule it out completely, but we should be able to cheer for once. It looks favorable.”
Virologist Bert Niesters thinks people with Covid-19 symptoms should by now realize themselves that they shouldn’t go near vulnerable people. “As far as I am concerned, the measures can be let go. The hospitals are not overloaded. We never test for other cold viruses and never stay at home.”
Minister Ernst Kuipers of Public Health does not want to scrap all measures yet. According to him, there is still a group of the population that face serious illness from Covid-19, and it is, therefore, important to keep the number of infections low.
The RIVM is also still cautious, pointing to a new variant of omicron, BQ1.1, currently spreading. “It is possible that this or another new variant will cause another wave this winter. We cannot predict how high it will be,” epidemiologist Susan van den Hof said to the newspaper.