The reproduction rate, which indicates how many people an infected person transmits the virus to, is on the rise.
The Netherlands took a comparably relaxed approach to lockdown: stores remained open, residents could exercise freely, in accordance with a set of social distancing rules. Now, as those rules begin to lift, the Dutch could be becoming all too comfortable.
But the lifting of the intelligent lockdown is not synonymous with the extinction of coronavirus. As people in the Netherlands make their way back into leisure shopping, restaurant-eating, and socialising, COVID-19 is growing — again.
The reproduction rate (R) at the start of the virus outbreak in March was around two, while the number of infections doubled every four days. During the lockdown, the R reduced to less than one. As the lockdown lifts, the reproduction rate is beginning to climb again.
Why is the R rising?
“People don’t stick to the basic rules,” explains RIVM’s Jacco Wallinga to Trouw. “I hope that we can get the R back under the source and contact research of the GGDs. If not, I will see the number of infections and hospital admissions increase again this summer. ”
The Dutch Cabinet has a red line. Their so-called ‘dashboard’ will flash red if more than ten people end up in the ICU for three days in a row, or if more than 40 people are hospitalized.
Wallinga explains that these indicators are already from the past because those in the ICU are infected two or three weeks earlier. But, he says that doesn’t have to be a problem — as long we continue to be careful.
“The number of infections is now low. Therefore, we can manage if the R is greater than one. But we saw in March that the spike in cases arrived after the lockdown had started. We cannot let such a revival take its course.”
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