Since May 4, people who test positive for corona have been investigating where someone is likely to be infected. The proportion of infections where it becomes clear what the source is is decreasing. This is evident from an analysis by RTL Nieuws.
On July 7, a source was known of 56 percent of all cases since May 4, now less than half for the first time. For the most part, therefore, no location is known. This may be because the research has not been done or has yielded nothing, but also because people refuse to cooperate and conceal contacts.
Share of infections with a known source is decreasing
Due to the source and contact investigation that the GGDs carry out after an infection, many so-called clusters of infections are identified and action can be taken quickly. For example, a café or school can be temporarily closed and visitors can be asked to have themselves tested.
If the proportion of infections of which the source is unknown increases, this is an indication that the virus is no longer under control. A worrying development according to former head of the Health Care Inspectorate Wim Schellekens. “That means that infections are occurring in the community that are beyond our field of vision. Then there will be a wave of new infections and the GGDs really cannot cope with it anymore.”
“The source and contact investigation is our line of defense. If the GGDs can no longer cope with it, we really have a very big problem, because then the dike will break. If we do not tackle this better, we will lose control and we will be back in March.”
‘Not a lost cause yet’
In March it soon became apparent that for many people who tested positive, no source could be traced. At that time, the labor-intensive source and contact investigation was discontinued and the control for the spread of the virus was lost. It was one of the reasons for lockdown measures.
Earlier this week, the Municipal Health Services in Amsterdam and Rotterdam because of the many new infections and limited capacity, they are currently busy with the source and contact investigation. Alarming sounds, but according to Schellekens the tide can still be turned. “It is not a lost cause yet. The cabinet must now make it very clear how this defense mechanism works, how the GGD should function and what the importance is of participation in the source and contact investigation.”
The infections, of which a source is currently known, usually involves a housemate. A source that can be found fairly quickly. If your partner or child first got the coronavirus, it is logical to assume that your infection took place that way. But it is often more difficult to determine where your partner or child became infected beforehand.
Therefore, the figures can distort the sources that are known. The home situation is by far the largest group (45 percent of the infections to be traced), but also the group that is easiest to identify. Because what if you don’t know anyone who has the virus and you have, for example, traveled by train, you have gone shopping, or you have worked in the office, it could just have happened in one of those places.
Increase in infections in public life
Is there nothing we can do with the figures? Not that either. When you list the development over a number of weeks, you can see whether, for example, more or less people become infected at work or after a catering visit. These numbers provide insight into the distribution outside the home.
For example, with the growing number of infections in total, more and more infections can be traced back to, for example, companies, fellow travelers, catering establishments or church services. Consider, for example, clusters in a pub in Hillegom, a mosque in Bergen op Zoom and a student association in Amsterdam.