Van Gucht expects a quiet period after omikron. “We all hope it’s over after omikron. But the truth is, we can’t really know. But I do expect a quiet period after Omikron,” emphasizes Van Gucht.
The virologist also expects that many people will become infected. “But a lot of people have been vaccinated and on top of that come the infections. Our immunity is thus broadly and deeply stimulated, which makes it difficult for other or the same variants to break through after omikron,” explains Van Gucht.
At the same time, he expects our immunity to improve week after week. “I expect our immunity to improve week after week. That immunity can also weaken over time. That happens after a few months or years, we don’t know exactly. If our immunity decreases or is too weak, an old variant can reappear.”
According to the virologist, new variants will be added later, but at the same time there will also be differences in the seasons. “Spring and summer are going to be quiet and fairly normal periods. But it is very difficult to predict what to expect in the autumn and winter. In any case, there will be new upheavals,” said Van Gucht.
The question is whether our hospital system will run into problems again. “That is a crucial question. If not, we can move to a normal situation, just like we treat the flu. Then there are no restrictions. And we will then recommend people to be vaccinated,” says Van Gucht.
He also refers to the situation in residential care centres. Infections, hospital admissions and deaths are increasing slightly, but remain relatively low. “The share of hospital admissions of residents of residential care facilities is still much lower than before the start of the vaccination campaign. The residential care centers are therefore relatively spared from the fifth wave,” says Van Gucht.
According to Van Gucht, the vaccination campaign is therefore bearing fruit there too. “In the first two waves, i.e. before the first vaccination campaign, we invariably saw that the infection rate in the residential care centers was much higher than in the general population. Since the vaccination campaigns, we have seen the opposite,” explains the virologist.