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Corona-hit wonder. What happened to Belgium?

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If Belgium performed just like Taiwan, it would now have three Covid-19 dead and not 6500 dead Belgians. The coronacrisis approach by leading scientists and politicians turned out to be catastrophic. Even worse, how likely is it that those who caused this slaughter can safely take citizens out of this battlefield? How many more will die an unnecessary death?

Disastrous versus adequate

Belgium regrets over 1000 times more Covid-19 deaths than Taiwan. That country has more than twice as many inhabitants. So Belgium is doing at least 2000 times worse.

The difference is staggering: if Belgium had responded and performed as well as Taiwan, there would be three Covid-19 deaths today…

Always, and certainly in a democracy, a critical, inquisitive view remains necessary. Many countries perform very poorly compared to Taiwan. The future will show whether some did even worse than Belgium because the mortality rates are often incorrect. But let's focus on Belgium, which currently has the most Covid-19 deaths in relation to its population (except for San Marino). Why?

Were many thousands of deaths avoidable?

This is the key question to be answered. Was the loss of several thousand lives almost completely avoidable if the best approach was chosen? In particular, the numerous relatives, a rapidly growing group of people, have the right to know the full truth."

“A (severe) flu"

A number of statements clarify why Belgium has so many deaths. On March 2, Minister of Health Maggie De Block compares the corona virus to a flu virus: "Such a virus travels around the world, but doing this tour it weakens." A day later, scientist Marc Van Ranst says, "Let's consider this a major flu ... otherwise we really risk exaggerating." On the same March 3, scientist Steven Van Gucht makes the same comparison and says that “in the worst-case scenario about 700 people would end up in intensive care”… all these statements still in March.

Meanwhile in Taiwan

Meanwhile in Taiwan, more than two months earlier. Already on December 31, 2019 it was decided to check all passengers on flights from Wuhan. A little later efforts to detect all infections start. That Taiwanese approach has saved many thousands of lives. Until April 22, 6 people died of Covid-19.

Done nothing for 72 days

On March 11, scientist Herman Goossens explains: "It will be a tsunami if we do nothing." That is the same Herman Goossens that even on February 24 had labelled the contagion risk in Northern Italy as “infinitely small”.

“With scientists and politicians like that, how could we fail?”
(inspired by Ray Davies talking about his management)

Only on March 12 did the scientists raise the alarm together. That is 72 days after the first corona measures in Taiwan.

All this exposes the core of the problem: nothing has been done in Belgium for months. There was not even a sense of the deadly seriousness of the situation. There has never been a policy to keep out the corona assassin and effectively protect the 11.5 million Belgians.

One could wonder cynically, inspired by Ray Davies talking about his management: “With scientists and politicians like that, how could we fail?”

Who will lead Belgians safely out of the corona battleground?

Belgium does not have a competent cockpit that can properly guide his citizens through the corona storm. This is an acute problem for what needs to be addressed today and tomorrow. How do 11.5 million Belgians get out safely of their corona battlefield?

They are confronted with an inescapable reality. It is impossible for them to rely on their current "guides" for a successful exit. These politicians and medical scientist are responsible for months of undisturbed travel of a dangerous virus, sky-high mortality of many thousands of abandoned citizens and inestimable loss of welfare and wellbeing.

How could anyone believe that these erring guides are capable of leading the search for the way out? That they will restore health, economy and wellbeing in the most intelligent way as soon as possible? While their disastrous non-policies provoked all this loss. Who could be that naïve?

On April 22, 230 people died in Belgium from Covid-19. That is 38 times more deaths and bereaved relatives in one day than Taiwan in more than two months. Again, a country with more than twice as many inhabitants.

Can there be anything shocking then? Yes that is possible. In fact, raising the alarm about this slaughter has still not really happened.

Just like Belgium. Who will be the new corona-hit wonder?

Meanwhile in Italy, Spain, France, the United Kingdom and many other European countries, in Brazil, Iran, the United States and elsewhere. It is very likely that citizens around the world will recognise this story. It seems that what happened in Belgium is no exception. Competitors may even show up for the position of most Covid-19 deaths relative to the population. Who will be the new corona-hit wonder? Because it is all too true that far too many leading politicians and scientists around the world have failed.

Just like Belgium.

Dirk Barrez
Editor in chief pala.be, documentary filmmaker and author of books on transition, globalisation, cooperatives, politics, development, sustainability and a utopian appeal for a human society (published in Dutch, some also in French, one in Spanish, unfortunately none in English)

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