NOS News•yesterday, 4:59 PM
Colleagues who call in sick because they have corona, or who take a self-test just to be sure because they are sniffling. You hear the weather more and more now that it is getting colder and wetter outside.
But is testing still necessary? And how sick does the current corona variant make you? The state of affairs in four questions and answers.
1. Is corona common?
“We have seen an upward trend since July,” says Harald Wychgel, spokesperson at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The number of people with corona in hospital is increasing. On November 1, there were 466 patients in hospital, compared to around 40 at the beginning of July. The number of corona patients in intensive care is also increasing.
An increase is logical in the autumn, says Wychgel. “That’s respiratory season, and corona is a respiratory virus.” The number of hospital admissions is still lower than in March this year. And this year things are going a lot better than in 2022 and 2021, says Wychgel.
2. How bad is the current variant?
The corona variant that is now most commonly found is omikron XBB and its subvariants. “There are no indications that they are more pathogenic than previous variants of omikron,” says Wychgel.
The symptoms of the disease are the well-known list: coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fever and sometimes fatigue and muscle pain.
3. Is testing still necessary?
No. It is no longer necessary to take a corona test yourself, says Wychgel. Since mid-March, it has no longer been possible to have a test done at the GGD. This is still possible with commercial providers, for example if you need a negative result for a trip abroad.
We must approach corona like any other respiratory infection, says Wychgel. According to him, the advice is to stay at home if you are sick. You can also avoid contact with risk groups, sneeze and cough into your elbow, and ventilate indoor areas. “You can’t prevent yourself from getting a respiratory infection, but you can prevent yourself from infecting others.”
4. Why is there another round of vaccinations for part of the population?
Since the beginning of last month, people from risk groups have been able to get a corona shot again. These are pregnant women, people over 60, people with a high medical risk, people in a healthcare institution, healthcare workers with direct patient contact and other people who are invited annually for the flu shot.
“We have all built up pretty good immunity, but people in these groups are at risk of becoming more seriously ill,” says Wychgel.
According to him, the fact that they can now get a shot again has to do with the season. Because the corona peak is usually in autumn or winter. “Before the virus starts to peak, you want to have everyone vaccinated.”