COVID-19 in Belgium: is it over yet?

Antoine Soetewey 2020-05-22 3 minute read

Introduction

This is a joint work with Prof. Niko Speybroeck and Angel Rosas-Aguirre.

Belgium recently started to lift its lockdown measures initially imposed to contain the spread of the Covid-19. Following this decision taken by Belgian authorities, we analyze how the situation evolved so far.

Contrarily to a previous article in which I analyzed the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Belgium using the SIR model, in this article we focus on the evolution of:

  • the number of hospital admissions
  • the number of new confirmed cases

at the province and national level.

Data is from Sciensano and all plots were created with the {ggplot2} package.

New hospital admissions

Overall

Belgian hospitalisations COVID-19

From the above figure, we see that the rate of hospitalizations continue with a decreasing trend in all provinces (and in Belgium as well).

Download the figure, or see the code.

Update of September 25, 2020:

COVID19 hospitalizations in Belgium

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Daily COVID19 hospitalizations in Belgium from March to October 2020

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Zooming in

Hospital admissions COVID-19 - Belgium

Download the figure or see the code.

Download the figure or see the code.

Confirmed cases

Note that the reported number of new confirmed cases is probably underestimated. This number does not take into account undiagnosed (without or with few symptoms) or untested cases. Therefore, figures with number of cases should be interpreted with extreme caution.

By province

New confirmed COVID-19 cases in Belgium

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By age group and sex

Static

Below another visualization of the number of cases by age group and sex in Belgium, for three different periods:

COVID-19 cases by age group and sex in Belgium

Download the figure or see the code.

This visualization shows the importance to report ages of cases and not just total number.

Moreover, we see that the distribution of cases per week by age group at the beginning of September is similar than during the summer holidays, but the number of cases per week is higher. The distribution of cases per week by age group at the beginning of September is however different from the “first wave” (period from March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020). During the fist period, majority of cases were elderly, while at the beginning of September majority of cases are young people. It would be interesting to see how the distribution of cases by age group evolves during winter.

The figure above may be put in relation with the structure of the Belgian population:

Structure of Belgian population (2019)

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Dynamic

Additionally, these can be seen dynamically:

COVID-19 cases by age group and sex in Belgium - dynamic version

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Age and sex specific incidence per 100 000 of COVID19 cases in Belgium - dynamic version

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By age group, sex and province

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Thanks for reading. We hope that these figures will evolve in the right direction. In the meantime, take care and stay safe!

If you would like to be further updated on the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic, two options:

  1. visit the blog from time to time, and
  2. join Twitter and follow us: statsandr, NikoSpeybroeck & arosas_aguirre

As always, if you have a question or a suggestion related to the topic covered in this article, please add it as a comment so other readers can benefit from the discussion.



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