Gepubliceerd op 12 mrt. 2020
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According to this virologist, the strain of Corona Virus which acts in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and America is much more fatal than the one acting in for instance China and Germany. But those governments act in an opposite way as well. Where Japan, Singapore, and in the end China as well, followed a drastic strategy to stop the killing Corona Virus, In EUrope and America, governments do nothing but bureaucratic nonsense. His Open Letter, however, is CLEAR, see below! Reason enough to visit Mr. Marc Wathelet in his home near Brussels.
Dear Prime Minister, dear members of the government,
Already on March 5 the director of the WHO urged you:
There are a good number of countries who have left the epidemics up to the ministry of health and the health emergency institutions. We’re saying that’s wrong. It needs whole government approach. That’s why my statement today was focused on advising all countries on Earth to trigger the whole government approach.
Five days later, you talked a lot, I guess, but you haven’t made any of the right decisions.
The choice that presents itself is very simple. We can take extreme measures now, or later.
Because we will not be able to avoid extreme measures with a doubling time of 3.3 days. If we take them now, all the costs, human and economic, will be much lower.
This doubling time has been publicly challenged by Professor Gilbert of the Space Epidemiology Service at ULB. But Professor Gilbert is a man of integrity and I would like to salute the courage he showed, extraordinary in the current circumstances, when he wrote to me:
I agree with you on three things. On the need to work together, on the fact that a television set is not the best place to debate sensitive scientific questions and on the doubling time of cases. It was an interpretation error on my part, I will correct it publicly if I have the opportunity, and I apologize for this erroneous reaction made in public.
In our email exchange, I criticized the prognosis of a mortality rate in Belgium similar to that which would have been observed in China in the provinces other than that of Hubei, namely 0.7%, and which would correspond to a mortality rate when the hospital system is not overwhelmed, according to him.
My review is based on what scientists call the case fatality ratio, CFR, which is the best indicator at the start of an epidemic of the death rate that can be calculated once the epidemic is over. At this point in the epidemic outside of China, the CFR is 37% in Italy, South Korea is at 24%, and Iran is at 9%. The CFR is calculated as death / (death + recovered).
These figures are not final and only indicators. In particular, I have yet to find the demographic profile of deaths and recoveries in these countries, and I can only hope that the final toll will not be as heavy. Professor Gilbert reproaches me for not considering the case of Germany where there are only two deaths out of 1176 cases and for not having an explanation for the big differences between countries in what is called the crude fatality ratio, the number of deaths out of the total number of people infected.
The explanation is obvious, a pandemic Virus keeps on evolving as it propagates: there are quite simply several strains of SARS – CoV 2 that are circulating in the World today, and which differ in particular in their virulence, causing distinct diseases, COVID 19A, COVID 19B, COVID 19C, etc., and I estimate that there are currently 5 – 6 different strains circulating in the world.
Unfortunately for Belgium, the cases that circulate among us come mainly from Italy, not from Germany and that is why the CFR of 37% in Italy is so worrying. Even if the final figure is reduced, it probably will not go down to 0.7%.
And that is why the decision not to put the people who returned from Italy in quarantine was a monumental error with serious consequences for the country, when this CFR was already known at the time of making this decision.
We will have a number of deaths which could have been avoided in Belgium, as a result of this criminal negligence of not having the good sense to follow the most basic public health measures which were essential at that time.
With a doubling time of 3.3 days confirmed by Professor Gilbert, what do these figures tell us, figures that have no feelings and no agenda? They tell us that every day we lose procrastinating will lead to more cases, more hospitalizations, more deaths, and greater economic cost.
It’s hard to understand how it’s even a choice. People seem to think that the economic cost justifies waiting, while the longer we wait, the greater the economic costs.