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For all those at home and abroad who think that small and densely populated Belgium has been worst hit by COVID19 on a per capita basis, and at the same time wonder why you haven't seen pictures of flooded hospitals and/or field hospitals being set up in our country. A thread. 1/
As a densely populated country at the crossroads of all big transport axes in Europe, Belgium has indeed been hit severely by COVID19. We had our share of COVID19-outbreaks in care homes, but COVID19-hospital capacity was never filled more than 2/3rds. 2/
How come then we get the highest per capita numbers of officially registered COVID19-patients? Well, that's because we count the COVID19-victims in an extremely correct and exhaustive way. Including in care homes and including the non-confirmed (but suspected COVID) cases. 3/
As a result, at the moment we are one of the rare countries where COVID19-death count is roughly a match with the excess deaths reported through mortality statistics. Indeed, between mid March and mid-April our official COVID19 death count, accounted for 93% of excess deaths. 4/
This of course makes us jump up in international 'worst hit'-rankings of 'officially recorded' COVID19-deaths on a per capita basis. But that's because we're about the only country with correct figures... The only good comparison that can be done, is on excess death-figures...5/
So that's what we've done for the mid March-mid April periode, based on The Economist-Euro MoMo figures on excess deaths. We just added population statistics to get to a per capita result. And this is what we then get as a reasonable comparison of the worst hit countries/regions.
As you can see cities like New York and regions like Lombardy (areas with comparable population numbers as Belgium) were far worse hit than Belgium on a per capita basis. And Spain and England & Wales are also worse off. Coherent with higher med urgency in these reg's/countr's.6/
So, although we've been hard hit by this pandemic, you don't need to look for spectacular footage of out-of-control situations in Belgium. We count better, know how big the impact was, and have taken measures to flatten the curve, which is working. Our hospitals are doing OK. 7/
In fact, the number of COVID19-patients in Belgian hospitals has now halved compared with the peak number. The same holds for our ICU's. We're now stepping up our testing & tracing-strategy and will be gradually reopening our economy on 4/5 and our retail sector on 11/5. 8/
And all this time Belgians have been able to walk and cycle outdoors, work in our gardens with the DIY's open. So no need to worry about little Belgium. We'll weather this heavy med. and econ. crisis. Perhaps not in the best possible way, but in a very respectable way, indeed. E/
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