The Brussels shopping street Nieuwstraat (archive picture)

Number of infections seems to stabilise, is the peak behind us? "All will depend on Brussels"

Epidemiologist Brecht Devleesschauwer of the scientific institute Sciensano lets his light shine on the latest corona statistics: "Brussels holds the key."

The number of new infections for the week of 6 to 12 August was 588 per day on average, while it was 606 a couple of days ago. Have we reached the peak of the second wave, and will things improve from now on? 

Too early to call, says Devleesschauwer. "The Belgian figure is influenced for a large part by Antwerp province. One third of the total number of new infections is reported in Antwerp. When figures are dropping there, it has an impact on the total number." 

All eyes are on Brussels now, adds Devleesschauwer: "In Brussels the number of new infections is going up. Today, we even see an increase of 42 percent. If this number continues to go up like this, the national figure may go up again."

The Brussels reproduction value (the R-figure which shows how many other people one infected person can contaminate) has reached 1.229 now - in Antwerp this has dropped to 0.849. Virologist Marc Van Ranst wants Brussels to impose stricter measures, like in Antwerp province, to avoid things would get worse. 

Brussels introduced a general obligation to wear a face mask last week, but it remains to be seen what the effect will be; we will only see an impact in a week's time at the earliest, experts say.  

Brussels should impose the same strict measures as Antwerp did

Marc Van Ranst

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