For the first time in months, there are bright spots in the course of the corona epidemic in our country. The number of infections, but also the number of hospital admissions seems to be leveling off. The striking result: suddenly the dreaded ‘third wave’ in the forecasts has been halved.
So far, the models calculated that the corona outbreak was heading for a peak of somewhere between 360 and 3,000 IC patients at the end of this month. An enormous margin of uncertainty, but especially the top side was a cause for concern: after all, the ICs can only handle 1,700 IC patients.
But new calculations from the RIVM, in which de Volkskrant have had access, foresee at the end of this month at most 1,400 corona patients on the ICU, with a mean value of about 750 patients – exactly the number of IC patients on Tuesday.
The cause is a subtle deflection in the still increasing number of IC recordings, explains RIVM modeller Jacco Wallinga. ‘The model thinks: the growth rate is slowing down, we are close to the peak. The result is that there is much more plausibility on the somewhat lower scenarios. ‘
In every direction
This does not mean that the end is really in sight, emphasizes the RIVM. ‘It can still go in any direction. High values are also still possible, ‘says Wallinga. ‘The ICs are really very full, and the numbers are still increasing. While we have fewer mutual contacts than last year during the first wave. ‘
In the past week, more hands have started to work favorably, according to the weekly overview of the RIVM. For example, the percentage of people who test positive in the test street hardly rose, the number of infections detected fell slightly and the number of hospital admissions was about the same as the week before. And that while the curfew was shortened by an hour last week and there has been slightly more opportunity to shop for a few weeks.
Perhaps the rising immunity is starting to have an effect, Wallinga suggests. After all, almost three million doses of vaccine have now been administered and there are more and more people who have developed an infection, such as young people. ‘That means that in a group that has the most contacts, there is more and more immunity,’ says Wallinga. Incidentally, the group of 20 to 24 years old is still the champion of corona: last week, 8.8 percent of all infections were accounted for by the young people.
The RIVM also issues a profit warning. Figures from Denmark and the United Kingdom, for example, show that the ‘British variant’ of the B.1.1.7 virus, which is now also dominant in our country, is not only more contagious, but also poses a greater risk of hospitalization. That would make the forecasts a bit more sombre.
The downwardly adjusted prognosis is also annoying for RIVM. In The Telegraph President Ernst Kuipers of the National Network Acute Care said on Tuesday morning that he found the constantly changing predictions ‘confusing’, and the new number ‘still too high’. Kuipers, who must be able to estimate how many personnel the hospitals should schedule, uses his own, rougher calculation method, which results in less than a thousand IC patients with covid-19 at the end of this month.
Last week, 1,588 people were admitted to hospital, 45 fewer than the week before. 376 people ended up on the ICU, an increase of 59 compared to a week earlier. Added together, there are now almost 2,500 corona patients in the hospital, about 150 more than a week ago.