590 days of plague


Edited to add: Well, that’s embarrassing. I had carefully planned out my day so that I would do an astute update here to go live later in the evening, but in fact my “holding” entry went live when I was still in the office.

It was a very annoying day, coming at the end of a lovely visit from my sister C and her daughter S. We totally failed to take any pictures with C in them, which is a shame as it was her birthday on Monday and we went out for dinner on Sunday.

Further edit: F did get a picture of the birthday girl.

We also went to visit B.

And took U for a walk in the woods.

This morning I had decided to work from home as C was leaving for the Glasgow climate conference and Anne was also heading off to England for two nights for a funeral; but at 9.30, in the middle of a vital call with a colleague, the internet disappeared from our house and refused to come back. So I went into the office mid-morning, having basically lost two hours of the working day which I am still striving to make up this evening.

(On top of that, someone decided to pick a fight with me on Facebook about Handel’s Naturalisation Act of 1727. We live in a strange world.)

Anyway. The surge in the Belgian COVID numbers that I noted last time has broken out into a full-blown fourth wave of COVID infections. But in Belgium at least, more than half of the new cases are among school-age children who have not been vaccinated, so the impact on those of us whose work does not involve school-age children has been much lower. For comparison:

Today’s reported daily average infection rate is 5691, 75% up from a week ago. This is higher than the third wave (April 2021) peak of 4827. In November 2020 I missed the numbers on the 15th, but the reported weekly infection rate on 14 November was 6213 and on 16 November 5246, so 15 November must have been about equivalent to today.

On 16 November the numbers in hospital were 6504. Now it’s 1379.
Also on 16 November the ICU occupancy was 1423. Now it’s 255.
Also on 16 November the weekly reported death rate was 202, the peak of the second wave. Now it’s 15.

Yes, you may say, but that’s while the second wave peak was declining. What about on the way up?

Well, I have those numbers too, from a year and twelve days ago.

On 16 October 2020, the reported daily average infection rate was 5976, a new record and 96% up on the previous week.
The hospital numbers then were 1949, 41% more than now.
The ICU numbers were 327, 28% more than now.
The death rate was 23, 50% more than now.

There was still some time to go before the second wave peaked – 15967 daily infections, reported 1 November (so more than 1% of Belgium’s population had tested positive for COVID in that reporting period); 7485 in hospital, reported 4 November; 1474 in ICU’s, reported 10 November; and 202 fatalities, reported 16 November as noted above. For what it’s worth, I think the fourth wave will peak way below the second, though it has already beaten the first and third, and that the hospitalisation, ICU and fatality numbers will be correspondingly lower.

It’s still not good, but we seem to be adapting to a new normal.

Talk to you again soon.

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