As Responsible Citizen …

As a responsible citizen I look for arguments to determine my attitude towards the measures taken by the government. I can of course rely on what the institutions (RIVM,…), the government and the pundits (in their talk shows) have to say. But that input is too diverse to begin with, and too colored by political narratives to build on. So I’ll just do it myself, for the time being, and look at a few numbers that I can’t interpret with certainty yet do find disturbing. It’s about Germany. I give three graphs in Fig. 1. One for the Netherlands, one for Germany and one for the UK, for comparison. (Based on public WHO data).

The graphs show the registered numbers of COVID deaths per day (the black line) together with the numbers of registered infections per day in percentages (the registered number divided by 100, in red).

For the Netherlands, the picture does not look very spectacular: the black line neatly follows the red one, both in size and in time (the deaths follow the infections after about a month). After the first wave, the probability of death per infection is in the order of 1 percent.

Germany presents a completely different picture. In mid-November 2020, the number of deaths shoots through the 1 percent standard and will rise to about 5%, and that during a time when the number of registered infections was approximately stable. The number of deaths per day does not begin to decrease until mid-January and seems to remain stuck at 5% for the time being.

Because I really don’t know what to make of it I look at England. It shows most of the characteristics that make me bother about Germany. (The same goes for South Africa.)

What do those characteristics tell me? To begin with that it is a miracle that we do not see the same figures in the Netherlands, but that is most like temporary. Then that the panic in which the government and the RIVM seem to have fallen is understandable. What is incomprehensible seems to me that I have not seen these kinds of comparisons in the news or on the talk shows, but maybe that is because I stopped watching most of them.

What can I do? Keep the door closed as much as possible (I am 75 years old). And, in the meantime, nurse my wonder at the aplomb with which unfounded “solutions” keep being put forward and an honest, well-informed political debate is avoided. And I’m sending a link of this message to a newspaper, in case it would be of any use to others.

I have not heard anything yet that comes close to an explanation of these dynamics in Germany and England. What comes to the fore resembles fairy tale telling by tradition thinkers, namely that the new English COVID variant is no more deadly as the old one and that the vaccines also work well against the new variant.