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Virologist says "Only during the second wave were there more infections”

Although last week’s half term break served to slow down the pace of the rise in confirmed new coronavirus infections, the trend remains upward. Speaking at Friday morning’s public health science institute Sciensano press conference, the virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht said that he estimates that the number of new infections with the virus has risen by around 20% since the start of the month. 

Professor Van Gucht went on to say that “The number of infections is at one of its highest levels since the onset of the pandemic. Only during the second wave did we record more infections”.

During the past 7 days an average of 201 patients with COVID-19 have been admitted to Belgian hospitals each day. “The day before yesterday (Wednesday 10 November) there were 284 admissions in one day, the highest number to date during the fourth wave.

Professor Van Gucht expects “increasing pressure on the hospitals with an impact on non-COVID care”.

He predicts that next week an average of between 250 and 300 COVID-19 patients will be admitted to hospital each day. Currently there are 472 COVID-19 patients on ICUs. "This is likely to rise above 500 after the weekend”.

Professor Van Gucht also called on people to exercise patience and understanding for health care staff that carry out coronavirus tests.

"At the moment we have had several days with more than 100,000 tests per day. This is the highest number since the start of the pandemic. Some people are demanding their results immediately, which is understandable. But this is an exceptionally busy time for people working in the testing centres. Due to the pressure this brings and the reproaches they face a lot of test centre staff are currently off work. So, we end up in a vicious circle”, Professor Van Gucht said. 

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