Professor Erika Vlieghe "There is great danger in minimalizing the figures”

In recent days the number of people testing positive for the novel coronavirus has risen sharply. But how concerned should we be? During the latest 7-day period for which figures are available 681 people/day tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Last Thursday (10 September) 939 new cases were recorded. Scientists say that the figures give cause for concern. 

However, doesn’t the fact that far more people are currently being tested for the novel coronavirus than was the earlier this year man that we should put the recent increase in the number of new cases into perspective?

The infectious diseases expert Professor Erika Vlieghe say that to minimalize the significance of the increase in the number of new cases would be dangerous. Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ Professor Vlieghe said “Yes more tests are being carried out, but the figures are what they are.  These are clearly positive cases. There is great danger in minimalizing this. By minimalizing the significance of the increase people will take this on board in their private lives in the belief that everything isn’t so bad”. 

"The point isn’t that you can’t see anyone any more. You can see friends and acquaintances, at a distance. The bubble of 5 is made up of your close contacts and you can best limit these and keep them within the context of your family. Friends form more of a challenge”. 

Professor Vlieghe added that there are a number of suggestions on how people can be made more aware of the number of people they are in contact with. These include a “contact budget” and a “corona footprint” 

However, she believes that what is most important of all is that the authorities recognise that infection figures are rising and that they made the public aware of this so that everyone takes it seriously. 

Professor Vlieghe believes that we must above all ensure that the daily tally of new infections be brought down. 

"If you start to see that the infection rate is impacting the number of hospital admissions and fatalities then it is already too late. Then we will end up where we were in March. This will be the case if we continue to look away”. 

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