When do we see the effect of the stricter coronameasures?

The number of new coronavirus infections continues to increase; today it was almost 5,000. Over the past seven days, on average over 4,000 positive tests per day were reported, compared with nearly 3,000 a week earlier.

Meanwhile, since last week we have been working more from home again, closing the bars at 22.00 hours and since Wednesday an urgent advice is to wear a mouthcap in interior spaces. The impact of these intensified measures is not yet reflected in the figures. But when?

Alma Tostmann, epidemiologist at Radboudumc, says โ€œto get a little impatientโ€, hoping that the measures will soon be reflected in the figures. But the RIVM expects that it can take another week before we also see a decrease in the graph in the Netherlands.

Tostmann also started to calculate himself: the incubation period for corona is 2 to 14 days, but most people get the first complaints 5 to 7 days after infection. That means youre not going to test it until then. Add another day to that, because people usually wait a day in the hope that the complaints will decrease, plus the waiting time of the GGD and youll be at least 9 days.

The general measures to combat the spread of coronavirus have been in force since 28 September. โ€œThen you should be able to see something of an effect on the infections at the earliest at the end of this week. And a week later you should be able to see this in the hospitals,โ€ says Tostmann.

And that is not yet the case. โ€œYou see now that the curve of the number of contaminants is rising in an increasingly steep line: actually its a kind of rocket. That line really needs to flatten. Otherwise, you can say that the general measures have no effect.โ€

Too early

According to Aura Timen of the RIVM, the new measures are not yet reflected in the figures. โ€œFor this, it is too early to say anything about this. We hope to be able to find an effect in the weekly figures next week,โ€ she said yesterday after publication of the corona weekly figures. Timen is head of the Centre for Rural Coordination of Infectious Disease Control of RIVM and member of the Outbreak Management Team.

Aura Timen Tuesday about the weekly results of the RIVM:

So the rising line continues: in total 27,482 new positive tests were reported at RIVM last week, an increase of more than 40 percent compared to the week before.

Incidentally, the total number of positive tested people is probably even higher. Of half of the people who have been tested last week, the results are not yet known to RIVM. It takes a few days for all notifications to be processed in the data. Last week, the backlog was less high: at that time the results of a quarter had not yet been passed.

Every comparison with the first corona wave is partly limp, says Tostmann. If only because the cabinet then decided to step hard on the brakes by setting an intelligent lockdown. โ€œThe lockdown started on 16 March and within two weeks the RIVM calculated – based on the number of hospitalizations – that there was a decrease in the number of coronavirus infections. But there was a completely different test policy then, so the situation then and now is difficult to compare.โ€

And apart from the test policy, the package of measures also differs. That is now less stringent than in March. โ€œWith the current package of measures, not all sources of contamination have been eliminated,โ€ says Tostmann. โ€œSocial traffic is partly going on, so are the infections.โ€

New measures

If the number of infections does not flatten, Tostmann considers it inevitable that additional corona measures will be proclaimed by the Cabinet. Prime Minister Rutte said yesterday that at the earliest beginning of next week, the Cabinet will decide whether more stringent measures should be taken to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.