Professor Van Gucht: "Never before was so much coronavirus in circulation”

Speaking at Friday morning’s public health science institute Sciensano press briefing, the virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht said that current levels of coronavirus circulation are unprecedented. Nevertheless, COVID-19 patient numbers on the intensive care wards of the country’s hospitals continue to fall. 

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs currently stands at 406, 14% down on a week ago. “The fall in the number of patients that are in intensive care is persisting for longer than expected. This is a hopeful sign”, Professor Van Gucht said.

Hospitisations in are increasing though and they have been since around about Christmas. “However, the increase is currently slowing”. Hospitals in the Brussels-Capital Region have the most COVID-19 patients. The hospitalisation rate in Brussels is twice what it is in the rest of the country.

Both these trends are remarkable given that according to Professor Van Gucht we are still in the upward phase of the 5th wave of the pandemic.

"Never before was so much coronavirus in circulation”. The provisional figures for Monday show 38,000 positive coronavirus test results recorded. “And on Tuesday and Wednesday we will probably end up above 30,000”.

"The high percentage of positive test results would indicate that the true number of infections is much higher still. Currently, more than half of people with symptoms between the ages of 10 and 40 are testing positive”, Professor Van Gucht said.

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