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Virologist says that corona figures are flattening off

Speaking at Monday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference the virologist Steven Van Gucht said that although the 7-day rolling averages for positive coronavirus tests, hospitalisations and deaths of people with the virus still show a fall, the figures for the past few days show a flatting off. 

"After a long period of good news, the figures now appear to be stabilising”, Professor Van Gucht said.

The flattening of the figures is apparent in Flanders and Luxembourg province. Meanwhile, the figures in the four other Walloon provinces and Brussels continue to fall. Experts are unable to give a reason for the figures now flattening off. It could be caused by a combination of a few factors. “There is the gradual extension of the number of tests (since 23 November people without symptoms have been tested as well as those with symptoms)”.

However, the number of tests has only increased slightly in recent days so the flattening off of the figures can’t really be explained by changes to the testing strategy.  

Professor Van Gucht pointed to the increase in the number of infections among children and teenagers. “This is highly likely to have come because of the re-opening of the schools three weeks ago now. Among children from 0 to 9 years we see a week-on-week increase of 46%. Among 10 to 19- year-olds we see a 10% increase”.

Nevertheless, Steven Van Gucht stresses that in absolute figures the number of infections among children and teenagers is much lower than it is among adults.

The National Crisis Centre repeated its call to be mindful of limiting the number of intergenerational contacts especially with the Christmas and New Year festivities coming up.

In West Flanders the number of infections among the over 80’s is up. Meanwhile, in Antwerp and Luxembourg provinces there has been an increase in the number of infections among middle-aged people, mainly those in their 40’s. Professor Van Gucht explains the increase in Luxembourg Province by pointing to the large number of people there that regularly visit the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a country that has the worst corona figures in Europe. However, he concedes that this is merely a hunch and that he has no firm evidence to back up his assertion.    

There has been a sharp fall in the number of infections (30%) is in Liège Province. In Antwerp Province the figure remains stable, but in the City of Antwerp the number of new infections has increased by 14% during the past week. 

Hospital admissions stagnate

Although the number of hospitalisations/day is down 18% on a week ago ,it has not fallen at all during the past three days.  

"We even see a slight increase compared with the previous weekend. This evolution is evident in the whole country but is more pronounced in Wallonia especially in Hainaut and Luxembourg provinces.” Professor Van Gucht said. 

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