Slowly but surely, bright spots in the corona figures are starting to shine through. The number of positive tests has stopped growing for almost a week (although a real decrease does not want to start either). The weekly average of new hospital admissions has hovered around 300 a day in recent days, while it rose continuously for weeks on end.
The question is: are those bright spots actually positive developments, or does it rather show the exhausted system that the number of corona patients simply can no longer handle?
Limited test capacity
The fact that the number of positive tests is no longer increasing (it remains at about 22,000 reports per day) is also due to the limited testing capacity. Two weeks ago, it started to become difficult for those who had complaints to quickly make a test appointment. The GGDs simply could not conduct more tests. Since then, the capacity has been increased a bit, but it is not going fast: the test demand is still higher than the GGDs can handle.
Also read: Up to 90,000 tests. How should the GGD proceed now?
However, there is more evidence that the number of infections has actually fallen. Another important indicator is how large the share of the tests taken is positive. Last week that percentage fell for the first time in a long time: last week 21.4 percent of the tests were positive, the week before that was 22.2 percent. According to the RIVM is the result of the measures introduced in mid-November. At that time, among other things, the catering industry had to close its doors at 8 p.m. and a permanent seat became mandatory again. Usually it becomes clear about two weeks after the introduction of measures what the effect is.
Influence of measures unclear
It is unclear exactly how great the influence of the measures is: the figures are in any case influenced by the limited testing capacity. There is a similar problem in hospitals: the number of admissions is starting to level off, but that could be for several reasons. The pressure there is so high that every new patient is a potential problem. In previous waves, sharper selections were made if hospitals got into trouble: GPs were less likely to send corona patients to hospital. Some patients stay at home with oxygen and measuring equipment, which patients can use to keep track of the oxygen levels in their blood, among other things. It is unclear whether this method is actually used more often, as there is no central registration. In short, it remains difficult to get a sharp picture based on the current corona figures. The coming days should show whether there is actually a trend reversal.
That would be a stroke of luck, because the OMT still assumed in the last advice that the measures taken in mid-November would have little effect. It therefore advised the cabinet to introduce a package of measures that would push the number of infections down by at least 20 percent – the reproduction number would then be at or just below 1, which means that the number of infections no longer grows, but neither does it or not. hardly falls. RIVM now estimates that the reproduction number on 15 November, the day after the introduction of the measures in mid-November, was already around 1. The measures taken last weekend could then cause a decline.
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