Virologist Steven Van Gucht: “We are heading towards 20,000 infections per day”.

Speaking at Friday morning’s press conference held by the public health science institute Sciensano, the virologist Steven Van Gucht told journalists that we are probably heading for a situation in which there will be 20,000 new coronavirus infections recorded every day. There is more bad news as the infection rate among the oldest members of society is rising rapidly too. 

Professor Van Gucht said “We are currently recording more than 10,000 new infections each day. On Monday almost 13,000 new infections were recorded. The (7-day rolling) average is currently at 10,453 and this is up by 69% on a week ago. The number of infections is doubling every 9 days which means that during the coming week we will probably be heading towards 20,000. This means that more than 1 in 100 Belgians is infectious”.

While a large portion of the infections is still among those in their 20’s, the increase among this group is less pronounced than among other age demographics. The average age of those that are becoming infected continues to rise.   Professor Van Gucht told the press conference that the average age of those that are testing positive is now 37.

“We continue to see the biggest increase among those that are over 70 with a doubling in the space of a week. Among those over 90 the number of cases is doubling every 5 days. The over 90’s show the second highest infection rate after those in their 20’s. Unfortunately, this is translating into a further rise in the number of hospitalisations and deaths”.

Professor Van Gucht welcomes the extra measures taken by the authorities but was keen to stress that the key to get the virus back under control is in all our hands. “Following the six golden rules can save lives”. 

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