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Big fall in the number of infections among the over 80s and over 90s says Professor Van Gucht

A Friday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference, the virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht said that it is encouraging that the figures relating to the coronavirus pandemic continue to remain stable. However, we need to stay on our guard to prevent any resurgence in the figures. Professor Van Gucht also said that it is still too early to say whether the vaccination programme is having any impact on the figures.  

"The number of new infections and hospital admissions edge up and down week after week. Today after 6 days of slight increases we see a 13% fall in the number of new infections and a slight 1% fall in the number of hospital admissions. Given the difficult context with the cold winter weather, the presence of the UK variant and the schools being open, this is encouraging. However, we shouldn’t forget that we remain at a high plateau and the risk of and upsurge remains great”, Professor Van Gucht said.

The fall in the number of infections is evident among all age demographics, but it is most pronounced among those over the age of 80. The number of people testing positive for coronavirus is down 25% among those between the ages of 80 and 90 and 35% among those over the age of 90.

"17% of people over 80 have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine and 11% have been given a second dose. However, we will need to wait another couple of weeks, until more care home residents have received their second dose, to be able to evaluate the effect of the vaccinations. There are also care homes where no one has been vaccinated yet as they had an active coronavirus outbreak”, the virologist added.  

A third of infections with British variant

Professor Van Gucht told the press conference that during the first week of this month 1 in 3 (34%) people that became infected with coronavirus had contracted the British variant of the virus. Meanwhile, just under 1 in 20 (4.7%) had contracted the South African variant of the virus”.  

During the last week of January 20% of people that became infected with coronavirus contracted the British variant. Meanwhile, 3.2% of coronavirus infections between 25 and 31 January were with the South African variant of the virus. 

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