Professor Van Gucht: “Hospitalisations will peak this week too”

Speaking at Friday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference, the virologist Steven Van Gucht said that the peak in the number of people being hospitalised during the 5th wave of the coronavirus pandemic will have been reached its peak sometime during this week. The peak in the number of infections recorded was reached at the start of last week. 

The number of patients with COVID-19 that are being cared for in Belgian hospitals is still rising. Patient numbers on Thursday 3 February were 15% higher than they were a week early. Meanwhile, the number of patients on ICUs was up 20%.

“The rise in the number of admissions to intensive care started at the beginning of January and went from 20 admissions (per day) then to 45 now”, Professor Van Gucht said.

“For a while this was compensated for by a large number of patients that had been admitted during the fourth wave being discharged. During the past week this trend has shifted and currently the number of patients being admitted is greater than the number that are being discharged. We expect that the number of patients in intensive care will gradually fall again during February”. 

Infections peaked at almost 76,000/day

Professor Van Gucht went onto say that the number of infections peaked on Monday 24 January. Not only was this the peak of the 5th wave, but also a record for the number of infections recorded since the start of the pandemic almost 2 years ago. A day later, on Thursday 25 January, the highest weekly average for infections was recorded at 52,327 infections/day.

The latest figures (for the week from 25 to 31 January) show a 20% fall in the 7-day average for infections to 41,757.

Nevertheless, Professor Van Gucht warns that the 5th wave of the pandemic is by no means over yet. 

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