December 4, 2021

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RIVM: New measures based on people's behavior

RIVM: New measures based on people’s behavior

It is not the growth in the number of infections or hospital admissions, but the results of a survey on compliance with basic rules and travel movements that determine whether the outbreak management team will recommend stricter measures on Corona next Wednesday.

That’s what OMT chief Jaap van Diesel, director of the CDC, and chief modeller Jaco Walinga, both from RIVM, said in an interview with NOS.

As of today, corona passes and a nose mask are mandatory in more places. How do you determine whether it procedures, along with basic rules such as testing in case of complaints, is it sufficient?

Van Dissel: “You should see that people are abiding better by the ground rules which should reduce the number of contacts. We will measure this with the RIVM Behavior Module next week with a survey and based on data on mobility. We should see better follow-up of the rules.”

“To cite an example: If 40 percent of the population previously indicated that they would leave the house if they test positive and not go into isolation, and that would be 0 percent next Wednesday, everyone would follow the rules. So you see a change for the better. This is a predictive nature.”

So what exactly will you pay attention to?

Van Diesel: “We’ll evaluate that on Wednesday, we have ideas about that, but we’re not going to stick to specific values ​​yet. The conclusion will come next week. We don’t want to determine in three weeks that something wasn’t enough. That’s why it’s good to be there now.” Faster thinking about actions.”

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“A change in behavior is not going to lead to fewer infections or fewer admissions to hospital right now, it takes about two weeks.”

So if the survey results are not good enough, the government is advised to: Friday 12 November To take more stringent action?

Van Dissel: “In OMT’s last letter to the Cabinet, we have already given a preview (including a mandatory 1.5m reintroduction, ed.), but politicians must draw conclusions. We can only say whether we are under or under. Beyond Hopeful compliance with basic measures.

And shutdown, could that be necessary?

Van Dissel: “We’re thinking and hoping it won’t be necessary.”

Are you confident that we will adhere to these ground rules sufficiently in the coming days?

Van Dissel: “I think the seriousness is obvious to everyone. You wish people would pick it up and don’t think: It’s not mandatory yet, so I don’t.”

Three weeks ago, the Royal Institute of Public Health predicted a peak in hospital admissions mid january It’s coming, now you’re expecting the peak to be already mid-December. How can expectations change so quickly?

Jacco Wallinga: “These forecasts are based on IC admissions, and for a few weeks we have seen a decrease in the number of IC admissions. Based on that, you don’t know exactly when the wave is coming, so there is a peak in January because that is the time In which the greatest seasonal impact is expected. But since the beginning of October, IC acceptance has started to increase and the growth rate has become apparent. With this information, more accurate forecasts have been made.”

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Will the peak really come in mid-December?

Walinga: “We’re not entirely sure what exactly will happen in the near future. You can see that there is a possible scenario where we are already at a peak. But there is also a potential scenario where a big peak is coming.” It’s up to us to find out early on that we’re in this worst-case scenario. We’ll have to take strict action again.”

Should we have intervened early when infections increased at the beginning of October?

Van Dissel: “The Ministry of Health has divided it into phases (vigilant, alarming, serious, liberating) with measures to limit contacts and thus infection. There is a gray area between the phases where you can say later that you could have done something earlier, but at the same time you should Consider whether there is a sense of urgency to pursue measures.”

But can’t you radiate that urgency sooner?

Van Dissel: “Yes, but experience has shown that saying something is urgent is not the same as feeling it and seeing it around you. This is also true at the international level: in Denmark, which has a different approach, you are now seeing a peak in emergence. As in in Ireland, Germany and many other countries.”

Even with the high vaccination rate, we are now again facing high infection rates and over-care. Do you really think we will get rid of Corona?

Van Dessel: “I don’t expect that in the coming years. There are still a lot of areas where there are no vaccines and I expect it will take years before they get vaccines, if any. In the meantime, the virus will be able to spread there. To spread.”

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“The Netherlands is kind of a hub in Europe, with our ports and airports. A lot of people gather there and you can’t imagine that there won’t be new introductions to the virus and new variants.”

What do the upcoming corona waves look like in your opinion?

Van Dissel: “WRR and KNAW have it Report issued by him. They paint different long-term scenarios. I think the “influenza +” scenario with introductions to new variables due to globalization makes the most sense. How bad it is will depend on the variables we get.”

So does that mean that measures will be taken every year?

Van Dissel: “You can imagine that you have to vaccinate vulnerable groups more frequently. It also depends on how people respond to the new variants of the virus, if they already have immunity.

“Ultimately, it also comes down to what we all want. If your goal is not to overload healthcare, you have to see what we are willing to do in our behavior and whether you can build some flexibility so that the caregiver can handle peak periods of pregnancy Better. These are no longer OMT questions, but general questions that make a lot of sense.”