Next winter could see millions more Covid-19 infections

Next winter could see millions more Covid-19 infections Source; Gov.nl

The prediction that we could see millions more Covid-19 infections next winter comes from Dutch Health Minister Ernst Kuipers.

Speaking on April 16th Kuipers warned that the Netherlands could see as many as 10 million Covid-19 infections during the upcoming winter.

He said ‘It is not over’ Kuipers told journalists at a briefing session this week. Kuipers took over from the previous health minister, Hugo de Jonge in January immediately signalling a change in approach.

Kuipers’s new strategy will focus on personal responsibility, although the details are still being worked out. He said, any new restrictions will be based on health concerns, as well the economic, social and cultural impact

He said that it would be very difficult to enforce any new measures with the public unwilling to go through another lockdown. That means any new measures would need to take this into account with Kuiipers saying: “it is a very intricate and very difficult balance.”

He said the shutdown due to the pandemic was the first since the Second World War and that any future restrictions could not be at the expense of schools and universities.

According to Kuipers education should be the absolute last thing to close if another lockdown is needed, saying: ‘We know this is incredibly disruptive.”

Projections undertaken in the Netherlands suggest that as many as 10 million infections could incur during the seven-month ‘flu season,’ from mid-September through mid-April. The hope is that these numbers prove wrong and that they will be much lower.

The Netherlands scrapped the advice that anyone with a positive self-test should obtain a more accurate PCR test from the public health authorities on Monday.

Kuipers said that even without that requirement, he was confident the Dutch authorities could track the spread of Covid and any possible new variants. “We did not have this type of testing for previous diseases.”

Health authorities in the Netherlands plan to monitor the situation in much the same way as Spain plan to, using information from hospitals and doctor’s officers to monitor the spread and the number of cases.

The country is also regularly testing wastewater for the virus, which Kuipers says is an effective way of monitoring the rate of transmission. Health authorities are also handing out self-tests to low-income households, but unlike in some other European countries, are not providing self-tests for free on a large scale.

In finishing Kuipers stressed the need to get vaccinated and to get a booster shot, with booster currently available to anyone over the age of 60 as well as the vulnerable.

He continued saying that one of his biggest takeaways of the pandemic so far was that organisations across the country have to work together to be effective. The local public health authorities, national authorities, hospitals and other healthcare groups must cooperate, whether to fight Covid-19 or any other contagious disease that may spread in the future, he said. ‘It is about being agile.’

The warning from the Netherlands that next winter could see millions more Covid-19 infections is a forecast that most health authorities are grappling with as they work to ensure that they are ready for any such onslaught in the future.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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