Covid-19: third wave would be terrible for Belgian health care, expert warns
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Covid-19: third wave would be terrible for Belgian health care, expert warns

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A third coronavirus wave would be terrible for Belgium’s health care system, warned Delphine Mathieu, an infectiologist at the Tivoli University Hospital in La Louvière, in the province of Hainaut.

“All the hospital staff, whoever they are, from all the hospitals, are on their knees. They are clearly on their knees,” Mathieu said.

“I can understand a general feeling of being fed up, a desire to party, to get together, an undeniable social defiency, but we really need to think carefully about our behaviour in the weeks and months to come, because it can have a dramatic impact,” she warned.

Furthermore, “it seems that the slightest spark can ignite the fire again,” Mathieu pointed out, adding that “this epidemic is clearly ‘dependent behaviour’ and there is therefore a lag time between the measures implemented (…) and the real impact of these measures.”

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While Belgium is not yet in a third coronavirus wave, Mathieu’s statement comes at a time when Belgium’s coronavirus indicators are dropping more slowly than before, the number of patients in hospital rising, and the reproduction rate moving closer to 1, a number above which the pandemic is considered to be growing.

Fellow infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe warned on Friday that “there is no solid plan” to deal with a third coronavirus wave.

Additionally, a third coronavirus wave should be avoided in view of Belgium’s impending vaccination campaig, for which “we will have to make sure that we can count on all the medical staff,” said Dirk Ramaekers, spokesman for the federal government’s vaccination task force.

“If we soon find ourselves faced with a third wave of the epidemic that would monopolise this medical staff, it would take us away from the outcome that we are currently looking for,” he said.

As of Monday, Belgium has counted 591,756 confirmed cases, and 17,320 Belgians have lost their lives to Covid-19.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times