Radio 2

COVID-19 latest: fewer than 1,000 patients in critical care

Fresh figures from the Belgian crisis centre provide hope the corona emergency is easing while the epidemic continues to exact a high toll in Belgium.

230 corona-related deaths were recorded in Belgium on Wednesday.  134 people died in care homes, 93 in hospital. This takes the total death toll to 6,490.  Just over half of all deaths occurred in care homes.

908 new infections were diagnosed taking the infection total to 42,797.

211 patients were hospitalised.  4,527 people are being treated for COVID-19 in hospital.  The figure is down 231 on the day.  Corona cases in hospital peaked on 6 April with 6,012 patients.

993 people are still on critical care wards – down 27 on the day. 733 patients are on a ventilator – down 44.

367 patients were discharged on Wednesday.  In all 9,800 people have left a Belgian hospital in a better state than when they arrived.

“Clearly more people are dying than usual and that is entirely due to coronavirus” says virologist Steven Van Gucht. In normal times Belgium records 300 deaths daily. Since 16 March we have seen a steep increase and more deaths than ever before.

In the past there have been periods with higher death rates e.g. during heatwaves and serious flu epidemics, but the rise in recent weeks is unprecedented.

Prof Van Gucht: “On 10 April there were 637 COVID-related deaths.  If you look at the last time deaths peaked during the serious flu epidemic of 2018 there were 467 daily deaths”.

Increased death rates are most noticeable among the over 65’s but at the beginning of the outbreak were also recorded among younger people.