An increase in fatalities is ‘imminent’ in Belgium, experts warn  
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An increase in fatalities is ‘imminent’ in Belgium, experts warn  

Credit: Belga

Belgian experts are warning of an imminent rise in coronavirus deaths as the country faces steadily increasing hospitalisations.

During the past few weeks, Belgium’s daily coronavirus deaths have reached around 10 per day, which shows a significant increase, according to infectious diseases expert Erika Vlieghe.

“The more the virus circulates, the more vulnerable people will become ill, be hospitalised, end up in intensive care and possibly eventually die. As more people are hospitalised, the number of deaths will increase. That is how an epidemic works,” Vlieghe told VRT News.

Vlieghe’s comments came in response to virologist Marc Van Ranst on Tuesday, who told HLN that he expects that soon dozens of people will be dying from coronavirus in Belgium every day.

Van Ranst, who has been vocal throughout the crisis, warned of a “derailing” situation and issued a similar warning on the country’s future.

“Within a few days, there will be 1,000 covid patients in the hospitals. Within a few days, dozens of people a day die from covid again. That’s the problem,” he tweeted, replying to a question about a perceived slow rise in new hospitalisations when compared to the rapid rise in the number of new cases and tests done.

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This news comes as Brussels hospitals are beginning to struggle under the pressure caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Despite coronavirus patients occupying fewer beds than they have in previous months, the situation in Brussels is still dire, Elisabeth De Waele of  UZ Brussel told ‘De afspraak’ on Monday evening.

“At the moment there are already people with brain tumours who have been rescheduled because we just don’t have an intensive bed. We can hardly cope with this any more,” De Waele explained.

The total number of confirmed cases in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is 132,203. 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 as a result of the virus.

Belgium’s reproduction number (Rt) is currently 1.19, according to Sciensano’s figures, meaning that one infected person infects more than one other person on average and that the pandemic is still growing.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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