The situation in Holland

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The situation in Holland

The reason I am blogging this article is because I used to live in the Netherlands and still have family there.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that the situation is quite bad in Holland and even if you cannot trust the media you can trust reports from the people on the ground.

I came across this rather good article in the Off-Guardian which explains what Orwell termed as doublethink which is the ability to hold two opposing thoughts in your head at the same time. The first is to know that something is not true because facts and logic tell you that it is not true and the second is to hold that it is true despite the facts because it is safer and more convenient to follow the herd. It is a form of cognitive dissonance and eventually people let go of the facts altogether because it is impossible (unless you have a split personality) to hold two “truths” in your mind and a new truth is “formed”.

 

Comment

At the end of the article I found this comment from a Dutch reader called Willem which I have repeated in full:

So yesterday was an interesting day at the office, where of the dozens of people who used to work there, there were 5 left. Me, and 4 PhD students who work on the numbers of Covid19 in my hospital and where we compare Covid19 in NL with flu outbreaks in the past (open data).

And we were all in agreement that this Covid19 thing hasn’t led to its expectations. And that this is totally clear even if you do not look at the numbers that we crunched from our hospital (with detailed analyses on laboratory findings, medication, comorbidity, etc).

So for instance if you compare the number of people who died ‘from’ Covid19 (n=5000 in NL) compared with those who died ‘from’ influenza in 2018 (N=8000) you see that we are looking at a nothing burger. And mind you, this info is out there in the open. It is not that they are trying to hide the fact. It is there, to see for everyone. The numbers of death ‘from’ Covid19 are actually on the front page of the Health Inspectorate (RIVM)! (https://www.rivm.nl/coronavirus-covid-19/actueel) and if you google the deaths ‘due to’ influenza in NL are easily found.

And although I cannot share the data that we found in my hospital with you (because the data is not mine), the PhD students and I, of course can share it with our superiors who are constantly in the news telling about the dangers of Covid19 and that we need to continue the lockdown until a vaccine has been found.

And the funny thing is: in the beginning of all of this, when the experts were all gung ho of this disease that reminded them of Camus novel, the plague (they are all ardent readers), they were constantly talking to us, disturbing us, and (without our consent) sharing the things we found with ‘the outside world’ (their superiors).

But in the last 2-3 weeks they have become silent to us, do not reply to e-mail messages where we show that this ‘deadly disease’ wasn’t there, and where we try to make appointments with them to explain our findings. But all we get from them is ‘nothing’ as they are ‘too busy’.

And it is just crazy that they talk to the outside world as if we are in the middle of a pandemic, while their minions (me and the 4 PhD students) who actually collect the data that should support their opinion scream at them that there is nothing to see!

I cannot get my head around this, but do know a couple of things

A. Our experts have convinced the managers of my hospital that all sorts of expensive tests should be ordered (and are ordered) to be performed in people who are Covid19 positive, as they decided, in all their wisdom, that Covid19 positive patients should be even more thoroughly screened than is currently the case. And I, and my 4 PhD students were not involved in this. It was decided by the experts. But the problem is, and we could have told them this, actually showed them this through e-mails (that were never replied), that the actual number of positive Covid19 cases in our (according to RIVM) heavily infected area, has plummeted since April 1 and that we haven’t seen a single case of Covid19 in our hospital in the last 2 weeks!
B. An expert who has to acknowledge that he was wrong in his assessment commits, like politicians, career suicide. Or so they think
C. The experts who I talked with never really listened to my, and the PhDs, objections of what Covid19 was and why we needed better studies. And although they allowed me to run my studies, I think they always believed that the outcome of such studies must have been a confirmation of that what they already knew: confirmation of the conventional wisdom that Covid19 is deadly, contagious and for which you need to lockdown a country, etc. And now that the numbers are coming in (and I am not the only person who is working on this) they are baffled that they were wrong in their prior assessment. And all their stupid opinions are registered in newspapers, tv interviews, etc, waiting there for posterity to mock them till eternity. And this frightens them more than it frightens them what the consequences are from their stupid opinions and blind opportunism (as they are to stupid/ to frightened to see what they have actually done to the world).

And so their strategy has become the strategy of the politician, who thinks that this will all blow over. Play dumb and dumber and slowly ‘permit’ people to continue their normal life, as if normal life can be continued with crops going to waste, people who have been taking out of their daily routine for months, bankruptcy of small companies, people who have lost their job, QE that can only lead to stuff becoming even more expensive (austerity), and the terrible consequences ‘neglect’ can have to vulnerable people (either mental or physical).

Or as Robert L Stevenson said that ‘Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences’

The sooner, the better

Final Remark

To repeat what Willem said, “it is a big nothing burger” but that is not how the people on the ground would report it nor how they will remember it.  If you ask ordinary people they will tell you that thousands died, it was a terrible pandemic. 

However, the facts are there for everyone to see. They are not hidden. It is just that another reality has been created. It is all about perception. A reality has been created in which the economy was crashed to save lives and we will never get back to “normal” even when we get a vaccine. That is how people on the ground will report it and perceive it and the more people that repeat it the more difficult it will become to believe otherwise. Even in the face of facts. Moreover, this will make it easier to force more pain and change on people when pandemic 2 comes.  And it will come because they have seen how successful this has been. 

People like to think they are “logical” evidence based etc especially scientists but the truth is that we are not like Dr Spock out of Star Trek. We are emotional and social creatures (and that is a good thing), but it makes us vulnerable to manipulation.

As they say in colloquial Yorkshire (where I have also  lived); there’s nowt so queer as folk …  or nothing is as strange as people can be; people can behave very oddly sometimes.