At the press conference, virologist Steven Van Gucht of Sciensano presented an extensive study on the impact of the virus on Belgian children under 18. The Belgian study of children confirms that so-called secondary infections occur less at school than, for example, at home, and that children are less likely to be admitted to hospital.
It is true that less testing was done in children than in adults, certainly at the beginning of the epidemic. That is because children fell ill less often and less seriously. ‘Despite the fact that there was less testing, we see that the percentage of positive test is much lower than in adults. On average, this is 1.8 percent versus 6.3 percent for adults, ‘says Van Gucht. About 2.5 percent of all covid cases were children, while they make up 20 percent of the population.
‘A total of 378 covid cases were reported in schools, of which 270 were students and 108 staff members.’ The number of people who had to be quarantined is much higher. Only 1 percent of these people eventually developed covid symptoms. It concerns 11 members of staff, who may have been infected at school. The students involved 36 children who probably contracted covid at school. The percentage of secondary infections at school is very low. ‘
Children in hospital
267 children have been hospitalized with symptoms of the virus. Especially the smallest children, under 3 months, ended up in hospital. ‘That was the result of great concern for the smallest ones,’ says Van Gucht.
Children who did end up in hospital usually turned out to be less serious. ‘The hospital stay of children was generally short. Only 13 percent of the children in the hospital had underlying problems. Most did not develop serious complications. 3 percent of the admitted children ultimately required intensive care. ‘
The number of infections with the virus in our country is still increasing, but the increase is slowing down. In the period from 4 to 10 August, an average of 605.7 people a day became infected with the corona virus. This is an increase of 9 percent over the previous seven days. In recent days, that average has been even higher.
Current figures confirm the slowdown in the spread, Sciensano said. Antwerp remains the province with the most infections, but a decrease of 3 percent on a weekly basis is noticeable there. The increases are strongest in Brussels and West Flanders. There are increases of about 50 percent, which equates to a doubling in two times. But the absolute figures differ strongly: in Brussels there are about 750 infections, in West Flanders about 250. The latter figure is probably largely due to the infections at the meat company Westvlees.
Since the beginning of this week, there has been a clear increase in the number of deaths. This mainly concerns people who stay in residential care centers. “This increase coincides with the heat wave,” reports Steven Van Gucht. ‘We know that ozone and heat can affect the older population. Heat, ozone and corona may have contributed to the mortality peak. But it is too early to know how big the impact of that heat wave will be on the mortality rate. ‘
The crisis center also looked ahead to the publication of the color codes for travelers. The crisis center reiterates the importance of quarantine, especially those who went to visit family or participate in the nightlife.
In principle, you only travel to countries that get code green, Van Gucht recalls. ‘Traveling still carries a risk and the situation can change quickly’.
Malta is code red for travelers from our country, which basically means that it is prohibited to travel there. A number of Spanish and most Romanian regions will also receive code red.