Coronavirus: "Cycle of successive waves" expected to continue into spring

The current wave of coronavirus infections appears to be slowing down and the numbers may soon stabilise, but the season of respiratory viruses has only just begun. "The cycle of successive waves, surges and plateaus is likely to remain a reality for this autumn, winter and possibly even into early spring", Belgian virologist Steven Van Gucht stated at a press conference on Friday.

The virologist stressed that the coronavirus cannot yet be considered an "endemic" or "normal" virus. Corona still has great infectious power and causes even more illness than flu, he warned. "We can expect continued pressure from the coronavirus in the coming weeks and months." An increasing burden on healthcare is also still expected, "but not an explosive or exponential increase as was the case in some previous waves".

Van Gucht stressed that the coronavirus cannot yet be considered an "endemic" or "normal" virus.

New waves of infections may also arise from new variants of COVID-19. "It is likely that within a few weeks, the current variant (BA.5) will be retired and replaced by one or maybe even several new variants", Van Gucht said. "For example, the new PQ1 variant, meanwhile, already represents 10 percent of infections and is rapidly gaining more ground. The emergence of such a new variant could stimulate another rise in corona rates."



Chairman of the scientific committee on Covid-19 Steven Van Gucht © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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