LIVE VIDEOAfter the June relaxations, the number of corona infections has exploded, especially among young people. The signals are red in almost all safety regions, nationally the reproduction number is even above two, a record since March last year. The number of new hospital admissions may also increase slightly as a result, Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health (CDA) expects.
13 Jul. 2021
“We have large margins of uncertainty,” said De Jonge in a debate with the Senate this morning. “The infection rates are so astronomically high. We had not foreseen, did not expect such a rapid increase, nor have we seen anywhere internationally. Now we have to look at how the infections progress through the generations, and we do expect hospitalizations to increase slightly. That also justifies the measures we took this weekend.”
RIVM expert Aura Timen is now giving a technical briefing to members of parliament about the rapid advance of the delta variant. The reproduction number of the coronavirus is above two, it has not been this high since the first month of the corona outbreak. Especially in the age group 18 to 24, the number of infections exploded in the week from 5 to 12 July, with an increase of almost 900 (!) percent compared to the weeks before. “The number of infections has increased sixfold,” said Timen. The number of infections is increasing in all age categories, although the increases are modest among the elderly and sharp among the young. The curves are shooting up, especially in the regions of Groningen, Amsterdam and Utrecht. Only one Security Region has the lowest risk level.
“We see that vaccinated people have a small risk of getting infected, compared to the partially and unvaccinated,” said Timen. “Of the twenty-somethings who tested positive, only one percent are fully vaccinated, and two percent are partially vaccinated. So we see by far the most infections in unvaccinated young people.”
Incidentally, in one third of the infected persons there is no insight into the vaccination status, due to problems with the administration or lack of permission from those involved.
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De Jonge repeated his apologies from yesterday in the Ridderzaal, when he and outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledged that the June relaxations were ‘an error of judgment’. “We underestimated the ‘catching up’ behaviour. Not only among young people, everyone will recognize that that one and a half meters is really not observed everywhere. And the entrance testing was too big a jump, it was too early too. Checks at the gate were not always sharp, the validity period of a negative test was somewhat long, and a small percentage of false negative tests can quickly lead to spreading at such large parties. All those factors led to the increase.”
De Jonge wants to ask himself whether he and colleagues have missed ‘red signals’. “What have we overlooked? Were we sufficiently open to all signals?”
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