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Coronavirus: possible second wave predicted in August

Credit: Belga

Some models predict that the new coronavirus (Covid-19) will flare up again in August, or later in the year, the Federal Public Health Service said on Wednesday.

“It is possible that the number of infections and the number of hospitalisations may start to rise again, if we let go of measures too quickly or too carelessly, or if we do not follow the rules sufficiently,” said virologist and inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

Some models predict that a second wave of the virus could occur around August, according to Van Gucht. “However, it could also be later, such as in autumn or winter, when the weather conditions get a bit worse,” he added.

Experts have been warning for a possible second and even third wave of the virus for a while now, saying that a “second lockdown in winter is not excluded.”

“A lot depends on the extent to which we will continue to adapt our behaviour, and also on the success of the strategy of the contact tracing that we are about to start,” Van Gucht said.

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“If the tracing system works well, and we can apply it in a disciplined way, it is also possible that a second wave will not come at all,” he said, adding that it is very difficult to predict at the moment.

Last weekend, infectious disease expert at the university hospital of Antwerp Erika Vlieghe, who heads the Group of Experts for the Exit Strategy (GEES), said that the group is preparing a plan to move back into confinement, should it become necessary.

A second wave will come, according to her, but the question is how big it will be. “We saw what the first serious wave looked like. We have to be prepared for a second one, although we’ll try not to let it come to that,” Vlieghe said.

On Wednesday, Belgium recorded a total of 50,781 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.

“The figures in the coming weeks and months will tell,” Van Gucht said.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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