Delta variant still accounts for 15% of all Covid-19 infections in Belgium

Delta variant still accounts for 15% of all Covid-19 infections in Belgium
Credit: Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck

Despite predictions that the Omicron variant would account for all coronavirus infections by the end of 2021, close to 15% of cases are still due to the Delta strain.

The latest figures from Sciensano, covering the period from 5 to 11 January, show that the Omicron strain, which is resulting in a rapid increase in cases across Europe, represents 86.4% of new infections.

“We estimate that around 15% of the total number of infections is due to the Delta variant,” Vaccination Task Force Head Dirk Ramaekers said at a press conference on Saturday.

“Whether that’s good news or bad depends on one’s perspective. However, Delta seems much more pathogenic than Omicron. The country’s hospitals therefore need to keep taking this variant into account,” he said, stressing that this will continue to have an impact on the health care system in the country.

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“The situation is evolving quickly, so we need to see what the next few weeks reserve for us. The vaccination strategy also needs to take into consideration the fact that the Delta variant is not yet a thing of the past,” Ramaekers concluded.

While hospital admissions started to rise again at the end of December, as the Omicron variant was becoming dominant in Belgium, there seem to be few Covid-19 patients currently in hospitals due to an infection with the Omicron strain, however, there is little official information on the situation in Belgian hospitals, as most cannot systematically sequence infection.

The University Hospital in Ghent (UZ Gent) stated that preliminary figures showed 90% of patients are still infected with the Delta variant, but stressed that it was still too early in the fifth wave to draw any major conclusions from this data.

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