What is behind the increase in hospitalisations?

Monday’s figures on the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium appear to show a discrepancy between what is a relatively modest increase in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus and a sharp increase in the number of people with COVID-19 that are being hospitalised.  The virologist Steven Van Gucht explains why this might be the case. 

“We work with averages for the week. Last Tuesday we had an abnormal peak in the number of people being admitted to hospital. 183 in just 1 day. We think that this was compensation for the previous weekend when the number of hospital admissions was abnormally low. The latest weekly average includes the 183 admissions, but not the good weekend prior to it and this is why the increase is suddenly so large”.

Professor Van Gucht presumes that the sharper increase will flatten off during the coming days. Nevertheless, the virologist warns that “I fear that this is the start of a real rise and this is something that we should consider. But it will probably be less sharp than the 19%. We see that the virus is applying more pressure. We are in the winter, cold dark times. We have a new variant that in circulation everywhere and is more infectious”.  

Professor Van Gucht believes that we need to “adjust” in the light of the changing situation. “We know what we have to do. The measures won’t change too much. We must still rely on the same basic measures and need to control outbreaks well. Here and there we will have to do a bit more to keep the situation under control as best we can and to ensure that there is no third wave”. 

Top stories