Virologist warns that “Tail end of third wave could be long and hard if we don’t respect the measures”

The virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht says that we have reached “a new turning point” in the coronavirus pandemic curve. Professor Van Gucht points to a slight fall in the daily figures for new infections that in a few days could be reflected in a fall in the 7-day rolling average of the number of people testing positive for the virus. “For now, the peak of the third wave appears to have been reached on Monday 22 March”, Professor Van Gucht said. 

Nevertheless, the situation in the hospitals remains difficult. “We will exceed 800 and possibly even 900 patients in intensive care. Several hospitals are already having to send patients to other hospitals”.

Professor Van Gucht’s message is clear: “Our behaviour now will determine how quickly this inhumane pressure diminishes during the course of April. The measures we have in place now will have a great impact on the tail end of the third wave, a tail end that could possibly be very long and hard”.

Professor Van Gucht went on to say that if we stick to the measures that are in force to curb the spread of the virus the number of patients on the country’s intensive care wards call fall to below 300 by 1 May.

"But for that to happen the number of infections must fall sharply. If the measures are less strictly followed, we will remain on a high plateau of between 500 and 1,000 patients in intensive care and this could continue well into May.  

"What we do today will determine the prospects for schools, higher education and the eventual relaxation of the measures in May. A slight fall in the number of infections doesn’t mean that the race has been run. Limit your contacts and let the vaccine do the rest”.


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