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GGD director: ‘Now 6,000 Dutch people infected with coronavirus’

This number is six times higher than the nearly 1,000 cases of contamination that the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has established so far. However, RIVM regularly emphasizes that the number of patients will be higher, because many people only get mild flu symptoms from the virus and therefore do not get tested.

The number of cases is also probably higher than RIVM reports, because various regions have now decided to only test people aged 70 or older who also have serious symptoms of disease. This was decided due to the shortage of testing, so only the tip of the iceberg is tested.

No schools to close

Van de Gouw is the representative of all GGDs in consultations with the cabinet about the corona crisis. In his email he explains in detail why, despite the considerable number of infections, closing schools makes no sense.

“We really should not do it, because it does not contribute to the fight and it has a huge social impact. Especially because it does not prevent you from taking similar measures. (Close nurseries, close catering, etc.)”

According to De Gouw, it must be taken into account that these measures cannot be reversed until the summer holidays. According to him, there are a few considerations to take when taking each individual measure:

– the relationship between the risk of spread and the social or economic effects

– whether the measure prevents spreading

– if you take a measure now and the situation does not change, can you keep it up for months?

Risk in children

Closure of primary schools means that the risk of an infected child at school falls to 0.0003 percent, says De Gouw. And this while children have only very mild complaints and therefore hardly spread the virus.

De Gouw writes that there is a direct link between the severity of the complaints and the degree of spread. The milder the complaints, the less spread.

Infection outside of school

The director of the GGD Midden-Nederland predicts that if the current measures are properly implemented, the so-called reproduction number of the virus, the figure that indicates how many people will be infected by one sick person on average, will drop well below 1. If we did nothing that number is on average 2.

“Therefore, further measures such as closing shops, schools and catering are not currently necessary.” De Gouw writes that children are more likely to be infected outside school than they are infected at school.

Defense assistance

Meanwhile, the number of regions that are raising the alarm due to a shortage of beds, protective equipment, insulation and quarantine areas. Not only Amsterdam, but also several other municipalities have asked the help of defense for reception places.

The great pressure on hospitals is understandable, if the number of infections is indeed six times higher than the official number, crisis experts tell RTL Nieuws.

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