Lowest number of Covid-19 deaths since October last year

Lowest number of Covid-19 deaths since October last year
Credit: Belga

The average number of Covid-19 deaths is at its lowest point since the start of October 2021, while the number of new cases and hospitalisations as a result of the virus are continuing to decline.

Between 7 and 13 May, an average of 8.9 patients suffering from Covid-19 died on a daily basis, down by 42% from the previous week, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Tuesday morning.

The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic amounts to 31,656. This figure includes people who died of another cause of death, but who happened to be infected, meaning there may be an overestimate of Covid-19 deaths caused by the virus.

During the same week, an average of 3,701 new daily Covid-19 infections were identified, a 16% drop from the previous seven days, and the lowest since mid-October last year.

The positivity rate now sits at 22%, meaning slightly more than one in five tests have a positive result. The highly transmissible Omicron variant, Omicron BA.2, now accounts for 98.1% of all cases.

Situation in hospitals

Between 10 and 16 May, an average of 101.9 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day — down 19% from the previous seven days.

This number reflects how many people are hospitalised directly because of the virus, not those who are admitted with another condition and then test positive for Covid-19.

Covid intensive care, Sint-Vincentius hospital Antwerp, 2020. Credit: Jimmy Kets/Belga

On Monday, a total of 1,513 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, some 300 fewer than the same day last week, and the lowest since the end of October.

Meanwhile, the number of people being treated in intensive care sits at 106. The number of patients in intensive care has remained below 200 since 9 March. This number covers all patients who tested positive for Covid-19, including those who were first admitted with a different condition.

Reproduction rate, incidence, and total vaccinations

The reproduction rate (Rt) is currently 0.88. This figure represents the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person. When it is below 1, it means that the epidemic is slowing down in Belgium.

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The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) has dropped to 493 over the past 14 days.

As of Saturday, just over 9.14 million people are fully vaccinated – 89% of Belgium's adult population and 79% of the total population. Meanwhile, almost 7.14 million people have received a booster dose of the vaccine, representing 75% of over-18s and 62% of the entire population.

The frequency of Sciensano's update on the epidemiological situation has also been adjusted: although it will "continue to closely monitor the Covid-19 situation in the country," it will only publish an update twice a week – on Tuesday and Friday – rather than on a daily basis.

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