Now that the number of newly registered infections has stopped rising, Belgium seems to have passed the peak of the Omicron wave, according to virologist Marc Van Ranst.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in Belgium has not gone up this week, with a seven-day average of 47,815 new cases per day — the same (+0%) as last week, show figures published by the Sciensano national health institute on Tuesday.
“The peak of the fifth wave was reached a few days ago. The number of daily infections is no longer increasing. Especially in the Flemish provinces, they are even decreasing,” Van Ranst told Sudinfo.
The same is true for the Brussels-Capital Region, said Inge Neven, the head of the Brussels Health Inspectorate, during a weekly press briefing on Tuesday. “The infections figures have been decreasing for a few days. We think we have passed the peak of the Omicron wave.”
While the infection figures no longer rise, however, the number of patients in hospitals and intensive care units is still going up slightly in Brussels as well as in the rest of the country, leading Van Ranst and Neven to urge caution.
“The number of infections may have stopped rising, but it is still very high. We have to be careful,” Van Ranst said. “Relaxations should only be considered in a few weeks.”
He explained that two types of patients are now in hospitals: long-term patients who ended up in ICU with the Delta variant, and a number of Omicron patients.
“Often, [Omicron patients] have underlying diseases and are not vaccinated. Finally, there are still a lot of people where Omicron is discovered by accident,” Van Ranst said. “However, as a precaution, they must also stay in a Covid unit.”
All this increases pressure on nurses and care staff: “it is still very busy in hospitals and unfortunately healthcare also has to be postponed.”