The rapid increase in the number of coronavirus infections in July was halted in the second half of August. At least that is what RIVM figures show.
However, the number of new confirmed coronation cases in August was much higher: 16,400, compared to about 4,000 in July.
This is because relatively few infections were reported at the beginning of July. In the first seven days of July, there were an average of 60 per day.
However, the number of infections increased rapidly, to 338 on the last day in July. This increase continued at the beginning of August: an average of 457 new infections were reported in the first seven days of August, with a peak of 601 new infections on 6 August.
In the second half of August this rapid increase stopped. In the first fifteen days of August, an average of 580 infections per day was reported, compared to 511 in the last fifteen days of that month.
The number of positive tests has been more or less stable for weeks now. Last week, 3597 new infections were reported to RIVM, compared to 3588 a week earlier.
Moreover, the number of tests carried out has increased in recent weeks. As a result, the number of positive tests fell from 2.5 to 2.2 percent last week. That was 3.5 percent two weeks ago.
The number of people who, according to the RIVM, can infect others has therefore decreased slightly. The RIVM estimates that just under 30,000 people will be contagious to others on 28 August.
There are still more than the estimated 3,000 infectees at the beginning of July, but the rapid increase in July has been halted. Then the number of infectious people increased tenfold, the institute estimates.
Two weeks ago, the RIVM estimated that there were more than 50,000 infectious people on 14 August. But the RIVM is now coming back from that: the estimate has been revised downwards, to 31,000. Even now, the number of infectious people can still be higher or lower: the estimate is that there are about 29,600 people, but the actual number of people is between 16,300 and 43,800.
Deaths and admissions
In the meantime, the number of hospital admissions and deaths fell. Last week, the GGDs reported 57 new hospital admissions and 24 deaths to the RIVM. Last week it was 84 new admissions and 32 deaths.
Due to backlogs in the GGD, deaths and hospital admissions are not always immediately passed on. Some admissions and deaths were therefore not last week, but were only reported to the RIVM last week. The actual number may therefore be higher.
The RIVM warned in recent weeks that the increase in the number of infections could lead to an increase in the number of admissions and deaths, and compared to July there was indeed a modest increase. In July, 57 admissions were still reported, compared to 243 in August. The number of deaths doubled, from 34 to 77.
However, at the height of the pandemic in March and April, such numbers of admissions were reported per day. As many as 722 new admissions were reported on 31 March and 234 deaths on 7 April.
According to Aura Timen of the RIVM, the modest increase in the number of admissions is due to the fact that fewer elderly people become infected. “The young people infect the elderly in a limited way. The virus mainly circulates in younger age groups”, says Timen.
This is reflected in the figures: people between 20 and 39 accounted for half of all positive tests in August, compared to only 15 percent in March. It should also be noted that the testing policy was much more limited until June. People who wore the virus until 1 June but were not tested because of it did not appear in the statistics.
The RIVM estimates that the so-called infection number R, which indicates how quickly the virus is spreading, is falling. If the R is above 1, it means that 100 people together infect more than 100 others, and can therefore accelerate the spread of the virus.
In July the R was indeed well above 1, according to the RIVM, with an estimated peak of 1.39 at the end of July. In August, however, the number seems to have dropped again to around 1. On 14 August, the most recent date for which the R was calculated, it was between 0.91 and 1.08. This means that 100 people together infect between 91 and 108 others.
The R is always calculated retrospectively, and is an estimate. There is also some uncertainty about the exact infection number: so it could be that the spread of the virus is now decreasing slightly, but also that it is still increasing a bit.