Coronavirus: number of new infections up 61% in one week
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    Coronavirus: number of new infections up 61% in one week

    © Belga

    The number of new infections per day continues to increase, with the daily average new cases reported for the week from 9 to 15 July rising above 200 to 207.

    For several weeks now, the inter-federal health institute Sciensano has been producing figures based on the average of a seven-day period, instead of daily totals.

    Yesterday we reported a daily average of 124.7 new cases, based on the figures for the seven days to 14 July. That figure has now gone up to 207, an increase of 61%, and a continuation of the trend seen over the previous ten days.

    The reversal of the downward trend of the last few weeks led the latest meeting of the national security council earlier in the week to recommend no new relaxations in the measures taken to stem the growth of the Covid-19 epidemic.

    A meeting of the consultative committee of federal and regional government is due to meet today. On the table is a possible tightening of the rules on cafe and restaurant visits, including making clients leave a name and telephone number for possible future contact tracing.

    And the national security council is to meet on Thursday to see whether new relaxations can be allowed. Unless the new upward trend is reversed very quickly indeed, there is little hope of that happening – since as the daily totals are increasing, that can only mean the averages for the past week will also increase, as the days of low counts are no longer considered.

    Specifically, that meant the events sector will be left wanting, as they hope the current restrictions on audience numbers – 200 for indoor events and 400 outdoors – might be relaxed to 400 and 800 respectively. Industry representatives have promised a “bloodbath” within the industry if that does not happen.

    The daily average reported today of 207 cases is a 146% increase on the daily rate of 87 new cases reported one week ago. On 14 July, 185 new cases were reported, followed by 202 on 15 July and 40 the day after.

    Sciensano does not release more recent figures for the time being, although prime minister Sophie Wilmès among others has asked for them to return to the previous system of reporting daily totals instead of weekly averages.

    The total number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 63,499, which is 207 more than the total recorded yesterday.

    Meanwhile the number of hospital admissions has gone down from a daily average of 10.1 to 9.7. And deaths from Covid-19 went down from 2.2 per day to 2.1.

    Also for the week on 10 to 16 July, the average daily number of hospital admissions was 10, with eight being admitted yesterday. So far in the epidemic, 17,946 people have passed through the hospitals of Belgium.

    At the moment, 145 people are being treated in hospital, 28 of them in intensive care. And the number of fatalities calculated on a week basis is down to 1.6 a day, with two deaths recorded on 14 July.

    In total, 9,800 people have died of Covid-19 since the beginning, well over half of them over the age of 75. The virus is now spreading more than before among those aged 20-29 and 50-59.

    Total fatalities in those age groups is below 500. But those people are infected and active, and not only able, but also more likely, to pass the infection on – to 1.033 other people each.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times