In the first half of this year the Netherlands population grew by 32 thousand people, compared to 35 thousand in the first half of last year. This slower growth can be attributed to the flu epidemic in the country in the first months of 2018, Statistics Netherlands reported on Tuesday. The Netherlands currently has 17.2 million inhabitants.
The Gelre hospitals in Zutphen and Apeldoorn canceled all non-vital surgeries for the time being. The hospitals are overcrowded due to the ongoing flu epidemic, De Stentor reports.
Almost every bed in the hospitals is occupied, and Gelre already deployed extra staff. "We are working with everything we have to cope with the ongoing patient flow", spokesperson for the hospitals Carla Icking said to the newspaper. "We had to take these measures."
The flu epidemic costs Dutch employers a conservative estimate of 1.1 billion euros in sick leave days per year, according to calculations by Financieele Dagblad. Last week research institute Nivel announced that the number of people hit with the flu this season increased to an average of 136 per 100 thousand people. The week before it was 92 per 100 thousand people. In previous years the annual epidemic reached its peak in February.
Fewer people died in this milder than usual winter, according to Statistics Netherlands. Between the first week of December 2015 and the second week of February 2016, a total of 32.5 thousand people died in the Netherlands. That is 2.5 thousand fewer deaths than in the same period 2015/2015.
The flu epidemic is lingering into a second month. According to figures from research institute Nivel, last week 139 per 100,000 people went to their doctor with flu-like symptoms. The week before it was 142.
Fewer people died in the first quarter of this year than average. This is due in part to the mild weather, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). In the first months of this year, 35,000 people passed away.