RIVM: Impact of coronavirus measures should be visible this week

RIVM: Impact of coronavirus measures should be visible this week

According to the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), this week we should be able to see the impact the measures taken by the Dutch government are having on the spread of coronavirus.

Jacco Wallinga, responsible for calculating scenarios at RIVM, says: “We think that we are already seeing the first effects of the measures and that is promising. However, this week we really have to see change. Then everything will be a little clearer and we will see if we are going to make it”.

Coronavirus measures and effects

Wallinga bases his analysis on the number of hospital admissions. In the Netherlands, only those with severe symptoms are tested, therefore, the number does not give a true representation of the spread. 

It takes about two weeks to see the effect of the coronavirus measures on hospital admissions, which is why the RIVM can only now begin to analyse the effects of the measures such as stop shaking hands, put in place on March 9. The effects of the other measures, including working from home and the cancellation of events put in place on March 12, which will be visible in a few days. 

Can intensive care units cope?

On Sunday, March 22, RIVM announced that another 43 patients had died since the day before. On that day, 405 coronavirus patients were being treated in the intensive care unit. One of the worries is that the number of patients needing intensive care will increase so much that the Netherlands will not be able to handle the load. Currently, there are 575 beds available for coronavirus patients in intensive care units across the country. In the coming period, this number will be increased to 1.000. 

This still might not be enough, as, in a more bleak scenario, the number of coronavirus patients needing intensive care could rise to 2.500 by the end of May, according to Wallinga. In the most positive scenario, Wallinga sees the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care at 1.000 at the start of April, after which the numbers slowly decrease. “With the current figures, it is unclear as to which scenario we are going to get.”

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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Stefan Etzel 17:35 | 23 March 2020

I can't understand this optimism I have been seeing here at all. All across Europe except the UK and the NL they are starting to implement far stricter measures. Spain went into national lockdown 14 of March and still has deaths continuing to spike up, Italy went into national lockdown 8 of March and has decided even stricter measures were needed. How can one estimate the "bleak scenario" to be 2500 ICU beds by the end of May? This week we will surpass the number of deaths Italy has had when it went into lockdown, we are being one of the fastest growth rates of deaths in the entire world and very limited testing which are not enough to map out how widespread it is.

Vladimir Kalavsky 20:36 | 24 March 2020

Stefan Etzel, you're right. Netherlands is most likely on the Italian highway. Hard lockdown as soon as possible.