The steady daily increase in the number of new cases of Covid-19 infection is a sign that a second wave of the epidemic in Belgium is beginning, according to virologist Marc Van Ranst.
“This is not good,” he told VRT Radio. “This is absolutely a wake-up call. We have to get to work.”
According to the latest figures, there have been an average of 114.7 new cases in the past week, dating from 7 to 13 July. The increase from only yesterday is 32%. What seemed a week ago to be simply a wobble in the figures is clearly now an established trend.
“It has been months since we had so many new infections,” Van Ranst said.
“The average will certainly continue to rise in the coming days. I think we should be concerned about this. This is an absolute wake-up call. Everyone should keep their distance, wear face masks and limit the number of social contacts. The rule of 15 people a week is there for a reason. Many people don’t stick to it, but it is necessary. We are also seeing people coming home from holiday, so we really have to get started.”
The situation appears even more bleak considering the numbers of hospital admissions, which have stopped dropping.
“That worries me,” he said. “Those numbers are also likely to rise. I would expect that to happen in the coming weeks.”
The increase in the number of new infections is now affecting all age groups in all provinces. At the same time, the rate of reproduction is now at 1 for the first time since April 4, one week before the highest daily figure of 2,319 new cases on April 10 and the highest daily death toll of 343 on April 12. .
“This is not one hotspot, there are several of them. With these numbers you have to say that you are at the beginning of a second wave.”
The inter-federal health institute Sciensano has stopped releasing daily figures, but they are available, and Van Ranst posted the latest on Twitter this morning.
“We now have the daily figures back: on Monday 13/7 there were 216 new cases. A reminder: on 15 March we had 214 new cases. 17 March was the beginning of the lockdown.”