Is the number of infections increasing faster?
Conclusion: Growth rate appears to be accelerating
The number of infections detected is by far the most important measure for assessing the potency of the virus. Due to the considerable time between infection and possibly becoming seriously ill, the figures for hospital admissions are not suitable. Just like the death rates, they are chasing the virus. The number of hospital admissions and deaths is therefore likely to increase further in the coming weeks.
Looking at the daily number of infections does not make much sense. As the virus spreads, the current high numbers will sometimes add thousands of infections per day. It is therefore better to look at the weekly growth percentage to signal a break in the trend. The number of infections on a weekly basis has been increasing by about 40 percent for about ten days, but the last few days seems to have accelerated. Due to the 5,822 infections on Thursday, the weekly percentage has even increased to more than 50 percent. RIVM also looks at the percentage of tests that are positive. ‘The combination of increasing percentages and increasing numbers is an indication that more covid-19 actually occurs. Unfortunately, that is what we have seen in recent weeks, ‘says Susan van den Hof, head of the RIVM’s epidemiological studies department.
Only when the number of new infections decreases will the virus be on its way back. Unfortunately, these figures are clouded because there are problems with testing people with complaints. In recent weeks, not everyone could be tested, or had to wait a long time to get their turn. Since this week, the GGDs have been testing more. This expansion could further increase the number of reported infections, even if there may already be an improvement.
A national figure also gives only a limited picture, since the infections give an average of all kinds of different regions and hot spots. The epidemiologists will therefore also look mainly at the infections in the original hot spots. If the situation in the big cities, where the second wave started, improves, that is a positive signal. At the beginning of August, the number of infections in the major cities rose enormously, although the numbers were much lower in absolute terms than now. In recent weeks, the number of infections on a weekly basis has continued to increase by 20 to 40 percent in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. So less strong growth than the rest of the country, but there is no turning point yet.
Also look at other data on the dashboard
Conclusion: Improvement cannot be seen yet
Given the problems with the infections, the government has been looking for other figures since the start of the outbreak. When you look for contamination, you look too much in the rearview mirror. You are currently seeing the development of the virus from 10 to 14 days ago. That is why the government is looking for figures that send a signal earlier. The official corona dashboard lists two methods of ‘early detection’: the extent to which the virus is found in the sewer and the number of reports to the GP. The figures for the sewer system do not show any improvement yet, more and more virus particles are found in the waste water. Moreover, these figures are only published once a week, so the effect of the measures is difficult to see here. The system with the sewer measurements is also not that advanced. RIVM has a sample taken approximately once a week for 24 hours per location, after which the lab must investigate the results. You therefore mainly look backwards with the figures for sewage water.
The number of reports to the GP is also still increasing. The increase is slower than with the number of infections, but since people with corona symptoms are asked to contact the GGD instead of the GP, these figures do not say very much.
Rate statistics on behavior
Conclusion: little by little, the Dutch are working at home more often
The new measures taken last Tuesday are mainly aimed at getting citizens to change their behavior. It can be seen whether the Dutch do this on the basis of all kinds of data. A warning here is in order. Changing behavior is not an end in itself, but hopefully will help contain the virus. In the spring, the government planned to also include such data on the corona dashboard, but that did not happen in the end. There are various commercial parties that collect data on which cautious conclusions can be drawn. The data from Google shows that Dutch people go to the office a bit less than before the call to really work from home as much as possible. But it is still a lot busier at workplaces than during the summer holidays.
It is a bit less busy in the shopping streets, this is shown by a study by the RMC agency and this can also be seen in the figures from Google. But the crowds seem to be more affected by the weather than the measures, RMC said. It is not yet possible to say whether this will ensure that fewer people become infected. For the time being, the desired break in the trend is not yet visible, but in the coming days we will continue to look at the figures to identify a possible effect of the measures.
Phone is ringing off the hook for commercial ‘covid-19 drive in’ for companies
Commercial test streets are popping up like mushrooms. As in Twente, where companies are eager to have coughing employees quickly take a corona test. Faster than at the GGD.
The reliable rapid test is there, but can society be unsuccessful with it?
The approved rapid tests are a welcome addition to the current, non-slip test system. But they will not immediately be the key to unlocking society.
More corona numbers
The most important graphs and maps about the coronavirus outbreak in the Netherlands.
Corona worldwide – figures about the coronavirus in all countries in a row.