The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is going up again, as is the amount of virus particles detected in the sewage in the Netherlands. So, should we be worried?
According to Machiel Vonk, GGD doctor for Infectious Disease Control, more people are being tested at the moment compared to the last few months and the percentage of positive tests is increasing, from 60 to 70 percent.
Vonk also told RTV Noord that those numbers sound scarier than they really are though: ‘What that means is that people have often already taken a test at home and come to the GGD for confirmation.’
The increase in the number of infections could be caused by recent gatherings during the Ascension and May holidays, continued Vonk. An increase in the number of virus particles found in the sewage system was also observed after King’s Day.
UMCG virologist Bert Niesters is also not surprised about the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. He told RTV Noord that an increase in positive tests is to be expected since we have largely gone back to life as it was before the pandemic hit in 2020.
Now the wave of new cases is moving from the Randstad area to Groningen, but Vonk doesn’t see a reason to be alarmed yet: ‘We as a population are apparently well enough protected by the vaccinations to prevent serious disease symptoms.’
Niesters is not so optimistic about the future. With fewer people being careful and safety protocols being abandoned, he expects many people to become infected, especially once fall comes. Corona infections will also increase in number as the protection from vaccines starts fading over time.
The virologist also thinks that a number of new variants will soon become prevalent in the Netherlands, including BA.4 and BA.5, both originated from the Omikron variant. While they are not more dangerous than previous variants, they are more contagious and could still land a number of vulnerable people in the hospital.
Niesters biggest concern is that there’s still too little capacity to care for a large number of Corona patients. Nevertheless, he is not worried about a possible new lockdown in the autumn: ‘I’m not so afraid that everything will immediately go wrong again.’