As the Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps across Europe, Belgium continues to see a decline in the number of coronavirus patients in hospital intensive care units (ICUs), according to the latest figures published by Sciensano – Belgium’s public health institute – on Saturday morning.
This positive progression in the battle against the fourth infection wave to afflict the continent indicates that the health measures currently in place and, crucially, the vaccine rollout are indeed succeeding in the fight against the pandemic.
On Tuesday, it was announced that the Brussels-Capital Region had passed the peak of the fourth wave and that infections are falling. However, it is important to mark the distinction between variants: for the past months, Europe has been gripped by the Delta variant and it is this that has driven the rise in infections since the end of summer. The new Omicron variant is now spreading although the severity of this strain is not yet clear.
The current situation in Belgium
These latest figures concerning ICUs are encouraging since they concern patients worst affected by the virus who risk serious illness and even death. Between 8 and 14 December, a daily average of 10,974 positive tests were recorded – a 29% decrease compared to the previous seven day period.
Between 11 and 17 December, there were 220 daily hospital admissions – 22% less than the previous seven day period. 2,834 people are currently in hospital in Belgium because of Covid-19 (-16%); of these, 761 patients are in intensive care (-9%).
between 8 and 14 December, an average of 43.7 deaths caused by the coronavirus were recorded each day.
Since the start of the pandemic in Belgium, over two million positive cases have been recorded.
The rate of incidence – which measures the number of cases per 100,000 – is currently 1,600. This is a 25% decrease on the previous 14 day period.