Steven Van Gucht revealed in a news conference on Wednesday that the prevalence of the Delta [Indian] variant had increased to almost one in four coronavirus cases in Belgium – up 8% on the previous week.
The virologist for Belgium’s public health institute, Sciensano, did offer a note of optimism regarding the rise in Delta variant cases, saying,
“In absolute terms, the number of infections with the Delta variant is increasing relatively slowly. This is mainly due to the generally declining circulation of COVID.”
Van Gucht also cited Belgium’s widespread vaccination campaign as another reason why the overall spread of COVID-19 has fallen there.
As of June 28, data from Sciensano shows that 75% of all people in Belgium over the age of 18 had received at least one dose of a vaccine.
More than 50,000 children have also received their first jab.
These figures position Belgium among the fastest mass-vaccinating countries, both in the EU and globally.
However, Belgian biostatistician Geert Molenberghs offered a more pessimistic view on Monday, theorizing that the prevalence of the Delta variant would “probably have reached 80% to 90% at the end of July rather than at the end of the summer.”
Molenberghs’ remarks to VRT Radio 1 presented a bleaker image of the spread of the variant than even the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control forecast in a statement on June 23.
The agency estimated that, by August, 90% of coronavirus infections across the EU could have been caused by the Delta variant.
According to the latest World Health Organization data, Belgium has recorded more than a million confirmed COVID-19 “cases” and 25,168 deaths since the pandemic began.