OMT puts the ball in the citizen’s hand: ‘Put the mouthpiece in the shop again, that’s not so bad’

OMT puts the ball in the citizen's hand: 'Put the mouthpiece in the shop again, that's not so bad'
Advice for shoppers in Amsterdam last summer: wear a mouthpiece.  ANP . image

Advice for shoppers in Amsterdam last summer: wear a mouthpiece.ANP . image

On November 5, the Cabinet will evaluate the current Corona measures. But now that the number of infections has risen again, concerns are also growing. This is how I moved on Saturday devotion hospital administrators. On Friday, 139 new hospitalizations were reported, the highest number since May. The total number of corona patients in Dutch hospitals rose to 703 on Saturday. As far as hospital officials are concerned, the Cabinet must intervene early to prevent an overburden of care.

They are not the only ones involved. For example, OMT members Diederik Gommers, Marion Koopmans and Marc Bonten do not expect the mandatory closing of the catering industry at midnight at this time. It may be necessary to ‘go on the brakes,’ says Koopmans, who, in addition to being a member of the OMT, is also a professor of virology at Erasmus MC.

but how? What are the reasonable actions?

The situation is that 179 people with corona infection are currently in the intensive care unit. In our October 8 forecast, we didn’t expect a peak of 180 ICU patients until January. When you hear it, you think: Things are going completely wrong now, says Gummers, who also works as a physician at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, in addition to being an OMT member.

The question will be how the number of infections will evolve in the coming weeks, and how much stretch hospitals are still experiencing. That will determine how and how quickly to intervene,” adds medical microbiologist Marc Bunten.

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The OMT team will meet next week to analyze the latest figures and advise the Cabinet on that basis. “I don’t want to speculate yet about the discussion we’ll have with each other next week,” Koopmans says.

They hope that new measures can be prevented. The vast majority of people in intensive care units have not been vaccinated. Now if you take public action again, you will only get more polarization,” Gummers says. He finds it a difficult situation, where emotions run high. “One is angry if The Hague does not take action quickly enough, the other is angry if The Hague does not take action at all.”

Moreover, he continues, “The current situation cannot be compared to what it was a year and a half ago. We know where many unvaccinated people live and where the outbreaks are. This makes it very difficult to say: we will shut down the whole country again.”

For example, he doesn’t think the proposal made by Ernst Kuipers, head of the National Network for Acute Care (LNAZ) on Saturday, is a bad plan. Kuipers said in it ad that “it may be necessary to establish local lockdowns based on the rate of infection and vaccination, as is now the case for example at Staphorst”.

“We know that there are currently hot spots in The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and in the Bible Belt,” Gummers says. Therefore, the actions you take must be appropriate to the current situation. Why should a catering entrepreneur in the east of the country shut down his company, because there are so many infections in Randstad?

to force

OMT colleague Bonten sees objections. ‘How are you going to maintain that?’ Moreover, half of the unvaccinated live across the country. As far as it is concerned, the government should do more to convince unvaccinated people to get a shot. “There is still a lot to gain. Only a small percentage are not vaccinated due to their religious beliefs, and the majority are not well-versed in or belong to the group that throws the donkey against the manger.

But the most important thing is the behavior of the citizens themselves, say Bunten, Koopmans, and Gummers. There are still procedures in place, such as staying home if you file a complaint, working from home if possible, and crossing Corona. But I don’t think they are being followed correctly. These are the basic procedures that we know to be effective.

In her view, “the ball is now primarily with the citizen.” Her colleague Gummers agrees. Let’s say you live in Amsterdam and know that there are many infections, you can still take this into account by avoiding crowded places. And just put the mouthpiece on it back at the store, that’s not too bad, is it? ”

“We have to do it together,” he asserts. In the previous stage, the Council of Ministers took action, the security districts were responsible for enforcement, and citizens had to comply. This will no longer work at this point. Everyone must do their part and take responsibility. After all, we have to learn to live with the virus.

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