Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Watching the "Eugenics Experiment" Unfold

At least president Trump approved funds for NYC to build facilities with 5000 beds.
In London PM Boris Johnson designated the ExCel Center as a Florence Nightingale Hospital. Even Communist China saw the necessity to build an Emergency Hospital for 10,000 beds.

Mark Rutte and his right wing Conservative clan has presently 1500 IC beds and could increase it by 100 😟

The Dutch have their IC treatment protocol with a number of phases upto RED and worst-case BLACK. Some regional hospitals have reached this level. Choice will be made by doctors for CoV-2 patients who will be admitted based on assumed chance of survival.

Code Red in Zuyderland: This is the largest stress test we've ever endured

In the evening TV News, the reporter spend a large segment on an interview with an IC coordinator who explained the choices that need to be made. Unbelievable.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Mar 25th, 2020 at 06:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am certainly no fan of Mark Rutte, let alone the VVD. The response of the Dutch government was far too slow, even when the province Noord-Brabant started showing infections, and for the life of me I can't understand the "shortage of test capacity" which somehow only exists in a handful of countries (ans looking at Groningen not even everywhere in all countries). However I do think you are painting a false picture here, some some clarifications:

  • As far as I know, the examples of emergency hospitals in other countries refer to non-IC beds. The code red/code black escalation mainly concerns IC/patients on respiratory equipment.

  • Expansion of IC beds is being worked on. Not by 100, as you claim, but by up to 850 beds
    (which would be a 70% increase). And of course it is quite difficult to increase IC capacity since it requires a long list of both equipment and trained personnel.

  • While some hospitals in Noord-Brabant (and in nearby municipalities) are indeed at or close to maximum capacity, there is now a country wide coordination for the redistribution of corona patients (though the lack of coordination let alone early planning for this by the health department should be noted).

What is being extensively discussed now (as opposed when it's too late) is what choices will be made should the number of critical patients exceed country wide capacity. If that does indeed happen it is certainly fair to blame the early dithering by the government for quite a few of the resulting dead. However I don't see evidence of a lack of preparing for the coming peak by the government. What can be done is being done, they only question might be if the measures to keep the spread down are strict enough.
by Anspen on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 01:30:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
March 13
https://www.nos.nl/artikel/2327032-code-rood-voor-brabantse-ziekenhuizen-geplande-operaties-mogelijk -afgezegd.html

Voor de bühne ...

Rutte was clearly a proponent of a ill-founded and callous herd immunity policy ... similar and most likely coordinated with British policy coming from Downing Street 10. Also same lack of preparation as used by Trump and the White House, hiding from criticism and dissent. His director RIVM van Dissel is on the same page on herd immunity ...

The signal of code red/black was officially launched early March, as was the promise of 850 IC beds. They are not there as of today.

Nice photo for the PR minister De Jonge on the Erasmus MC in a large empty space. A physical coordination center in a digital age? Putting key persons in harms way in a period of a contagious virus?

No, Mark Rutte has his playbook ready for PR and a coordinated and centralized voice to illustrate unity. No Dr. Fauci in his group of policy makers.

All early clusters infected hospital workers including doctors and nurses. There was insufficient testing available abd as a result there was an outbreak that could not be contsined. All the same bull of its nothing more than a flu and loved ones will die. Tha facts on the ground in Wuhan gave a vast different situation ... time was wasted to protect Dutch citizens. The Dutch and Mark Rutte were criticizes by the WHO, Belgian authorities and most recently from the mayor of Bergamo. No, for Mark Rutte with all his intelligence and long experience at the helm as leader with a top notch healthcare system, he has been an utter failure ... a Conservative a€€hole in his DNA.

You can find his mindset in CNBC interviews at this year's Davos happening and his White House appearance and charade end of January praising president Trump. Do you think Donald kept his calling card? I don't think so.

Of course you May have a different view ... so does my best friend .... sometimes a period of a lockdown has some advantage. 😉

Unfortunately, there is no real opposition party on the left, accept perhaps the Green party ... with a new crisis, no one is mentioning the climate crisis. The Christian Democrats (CDA) of Balkenende and De Hoop Scheffer has moved to the right and are in Rutte's Conservative cabinet. The Dutch have become Liberal in a freemarket sense, but not in progressive values of sustainability. Ever since 9/11 the Dutch have become Islamophobic followed by Xenophobia ... not my kind of people: Wilders and Baudet.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 04:51:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 09:11:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the doctor who gave that 20% number (20 out of 100 patients) this is "congruent with the average from other countries". I would also say you can't simply take such a number at face value since it is rather important who is admitted to hospital. People with symptoms are advised to stay home unless their condition worsens. If, for example, there are 1000 corona patients in the area of the hospital it would be a death rate of 2%. On the higher side, but not extreme.
Rutte did seem to imply that the government would aim for herd immunity in general, though in his address he clearly also stated that measures would be taken. Once again while I'm not a fan and I do think the early part was botched, loosing use weeks of time to prepare, I feel your conspiracy theories ("most likely coordinated with British policy"
I'm sure that Rutte erred significantly on the side of not influencing society and (gasp) the economy too much. Especially since the Dutch voters have had a tendency to punish the government in power during crises in the last few decades. But one reason Rutte has been in power for 10 years is that he moves when he sees something isn't going to work, politically but also in reality.

Some other things:

A physical coordination center in a digital age?
Well Yes? A few people in a Rotterdam hospital (who would be on site anyway) are taking part of their day to (digitally!) coordinate the redistribution.

The signal of code red/black was officially launched early March
March was the start of  code red, and thereby the "reveal" of the code system by journalists. That protocol has been in place for far longer. There is still no code black situation anywhere

as was the promise of 850 IC beds. They are not there as of today.
And you are basing this on....? All hospitals are working hard on increasing capacity, but there is no reason why a hospital in, say Amsterdam, should have people standing around an empty IC bed until it is needed. Maybe you are right and the beds wont materialize, but so far I haven't seen any indication that the planning/preparing isn't progressing.

With regard to the lack of testing: Follow the Money, the quite effective investigative journalist group has an interesting piece today. According to them the relative lack of testing is the result of a partial monopoly. Apparently 80% of the machines used for testing are from the same manufacturer (Roche) who is both incapable/unwilling to fulfil demand for the materials needed to do the testing (only 30% of orders are fulfilled) and refuses to release the recipe of one crucial fluid. This also explains how UMCG in Groningen is able to  do far more tests: it has machines from multiple maunfactures
by Anspen on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 12:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I feel your conspiracy theories ..." 😊))

As Rutte has been consistent over 10 years, so have I followed his tenure as PM over the same period. His favoritism to the British Tories has been clear over a decade. As I watch British and US news outlets, I see and hear in real time the changes in rhetoric. All coincidental .. I don't think so. Same with the press briefings from the White House during the Obama administration of major events, here at home Mark Rutte followed suite. On the same page ... Rutte has heard a lot of criticism the last two years from France and Germany ... separation in rhetoric and EU policy. I don''t think these three leaders are on friendly terms anymore. Rutte looking for support to the Northern countries. Rutte is weak on foreign policy as he follows his instincts ... or business interests of his corporate supporters.

I learned to do more than just criticize PM Mark Rutte when he personally moved to right-wing xenophobic rhetoric to get the votes from the groups supporting Geert Wilders. Election result was his sustained goal. I could accept the opposition from someone like Pim Fortuyn, but the VVD clan of Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rita Verdonk  and today Mark Rutte are despicable on refugees and asylum seekers. His covert support for terror groups in Syria in step with the UK and the US is abhorrent, truly criminal.

In the 1970s I participated in the elections to Workers Council (Ondernemingsraad) in a large multinational with original HQ in Eindhoven. The unions of FNV and CNV couldn't quite appreciate that. However Den Uyl and his policy was a bit unrealistic for me. Now most Dutch parties have moved so far to populism and to the right, I find myself once again in a minority position. That's fine with me. So was I during the late 60s and the Vietnam War.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 12:41:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Ireland the hospitalisation rate is 26% of confirmed test patients. If 20% of those were to die that would imply a 5.2% case mortality rate. In Ireland the case mortality rate is currently 0.58%, implying the Tilbourg hospital has a ten times worse case mortality rate. However this is no worse than the overall average Dutch case mortality rate of 5.55%.

Assuming the Irish and Dutch health care systems are broadly equivalent, this ten fold disparity in case mortality rates could be due to a number of factors:

  1. Greater testing in Ireland - resulting in a higher denominator of cases confirmed relative to the virus' real spread in the community.
  2. Ireland being at an earlier stage in the pandemic - and thus the disease has run its course in less cases
  3. Lower average age profile of all cases in Ireland - median age in Ireland is 45 - I don't know what it is in Holland.
  4. The hospital system in Tilburg has been overwhelmed by a concentration of severe cases, and is no longer able to provide optimum life saving care.

Germany is the other comparator to Holland with a tenfold lower case mortality rate. I'm not sure this makes the overall handling of the pandemic in Holland look good. Whether you want to apportion blame to Rutte or to other factors, I leave to you guys to debate.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 12:45:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Survival ...

I took measures a few weeks ago not to be in harm's way, and not place my trust in a reluctant government sending mixed signals. It's one or the other, it can't be both at the same time.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 01:16:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Irish are proably hospitalising too many people (by continental standards), presumably because they can... so far.

In France, 10k hospitalised out of 25k tested positive, but you pretty much have to be symptomatic to get tested (and even then, they will tell you there's no point in testing). Of the 10k, 2500 in intensive care, and 1300 dead... very high death rate, very comparable to the Netherlands... but the base line for number of cases is not comparable with Ireland, where testing has been much more  widespread.

The differential in death rate will likely start to show up soon, between the countries in lockdown and the others.

Or not. Perhaps Rutte (and Boris, and the Swedes) are right...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 02:28:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The numbers are certainly weird all around.

In this interview Annibale makes the point that the ridiculously high death rate in Italy is concentrated in the Lombardy. Not in Piedmont and Veneto with around 3% and neither in the much poorer Sicily and Sardinia. And while he has no explanation he mentions that Lombardy is a much more friendly environment for private health insurance, which might have led to people getting treatment too late.
I'm also pretty livid that I get this from an American podcast, while our state TV goes to their London correspondent for news on the health of the royal spawn.
by generic on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 02:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have read that the COVID stays in the air much longer when it has lots of fine particles to adhere to, and that this could have been a major factor in its early widespread propagation, in Wuhan and in Lombardy in particular. Likely Ile de France and London too.

Luckily, the air has become a whole lot cleaner these last couple of weeks.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 03:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every time there's a lull in winds and rain to clean Milan's skies and the smog piles up over the city and hinterland, the full amount of Lombardia's pollution is suddenly revealed. If in winter the particulate counts go far higher as most central heating is from legacy diesel oil combustion.
I have workstayed in Milan many times and while not Bangkok levels, the pollution levels were stifling, only relieved when (extremely acid) rain would fall and temporarily rinse the air. Summer, while better from the heating being off, is also worse because of the intense heat buildup from hot weather radiating from the cement almost till dawn and the sun's interaction with the emissions, L.A. style.
Traveling on a 'pendolino' (short commuter trainride from city centre to suburbs and back) there haunted me for days as never elsewhere in Europe have I felt such a palpable sense of desolate doom as exhausted low food-chain workers (mostly POC) returned home in silence, body language of crumpled defeat, 1000 mile stares, the implicit acceptance and sadness of that knowledge parallel with the grimy light and sepia sorrow of the scene.
It was 20thC Dickensian, an Italian Ruhr valley.

Looking at European pollution maps the obvious immediate suspects, the big cities, Brussels, Paris and like stand out till you grok that a triangle between Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna pumps out more pollution than anywhere else. The Italian Wuhan, iow.
The hotbed and stronghold of Italy's AFD party, the Lega di Salvini, whence come regular calls to secede from the 'lazy, parasitical' south (whose starving emigrés powered the North's workhouses during the golden years of Italian industrialisation), before Fiat jumped ship to the USA after sucking public bailout funds for years after Italy's boom hit reality's shoals. Alitalia is on a similar teat right now, huge payouts to heads of failed companies, who then fall upwards to helm other state/private shipwrecks.
Northern Italians have been so much wealthier than Southern counterparts since Alpine trade routes opening to North European markets supplanted the South's historical sources of maritime trade wealth that there are basically 2 Italy's now, and little love lost between them.
Northerners mostly vote C. right and hard right, like Republicans in the USA they hate central government because they only want to pay less taxes, Berlusconi's siren song. Southerners take free fish dinners and are slipped E50 to vote for whom the mob tell them to vote for, whoever accomodates their simbiosis, deals not ideals, party-agnostic, or don't bother voting at all, (understandably as it hasn't detectably improved their lot much).
This concentration of wealth in the north has much weakened any unity Italy enjoyed, sapping civic sense and national identity.

Perhaps this crisis will humble the hothead Salvini, whose 30% poll ratings make him the shoo-in next PM if Conte drops the ball and Italy goes to new elections.
Tellingly Salvini carbon-copied Trump, Bolsonaro, Johnson and Rutte in his initial economy-trumps-human collateral damage and similarly has U-turned and is now rabidly baying for tighter control, tanks in the street etc.
Renzi suffers equally from media attention deficit syndrome (and love for Berlusconismo) and so his perennially polemic yappings punctuate and pollute the political discourse further even than when he was PM. His job is to outyap his own ovious-to-all-but-him political irrelevance and together with Salvini stir shit to undermine Conte, whose continued popularity infuriates both of them. The Pekinese and the Pitbull running maximum interference to Conte's smoothly calming leadership so far in this crisis.
In an Italian political climate that favours hysteria and hype Conte stands out for dignified aplomb. After some initial message fumbling 3 weeks ago he has kept his head commendably during this epic crisis, treading the finest of political lines between health and wealth calmly and seriously.
For which in these saddest of times I and many, many others here am incredibly grateful.

(Especially watching how other state leaders are comporting themselves evem after so much time and warning.)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 04:20:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for insightful post. 🇨🇮 🇨🇭

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 06:46:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even today, the pollution in Lombardia is the worst in Western Europe, even worse than the Ruhr area:

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 09:50:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 11:24:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 10:07:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brilliant comment Melo  - no chance you could convert into Diary? "The politics of Pestilence and Pollution"???

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 10:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
10k hospitalised out of 25K tested positive is a 40% hospitalisation rate - higher than Ireland's 26%.

You also have to be symptomatic to be tested in Ireland and the criterion has recently been tightened from one symptom to two. There is a 40K backlog of people waiting to be tested so presumably that will result in another spike of positives as the testing rate ramps up to 10K per day. Currently 1564 have tested positive out of c. 18k tests carried out - a c. 9% positive rate which would indicate the 40,000 backlog will reveal another 3.6K positives when completed.

More statistics  in official epidemiological report

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 03:08:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah there you go, only 39 in ICU out of 305 hospitalisations.

Bearing in mind that triage is in full swing in France : in the East, and in the Paris region, you certainly won't get a respirator if you're not deemed likely to survive. Also, hospitals are not admitting COVID patients from old people's homes, they are literally leaving them to die in their institutions.

These are the decisions that they make every day in hospitals; that is what doctors do, and there's no point in criticising. The French health system is apparently expecting the peak to arrive in the middle of next week. I certainly hope it's that soon.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 03:22:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From yeterday's post - Trump: It's About #Me, Not Others

Daily Situation Report - Robert Koch Institute

Chronology: Germany and the Coronavirus | Berlin Spectator |

The number of cases keep on rising ...

The man with the white shock of hair in Room 4 of the intensive care unit wasn't able to breathe. But now, a tube has been placed in his throat and oxygen is flowing into his lungs. You can see through the window on the door to the room how his chest is moving up and down in time with the ventilator, 28 times a minute. The 83-year-old is fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

[Source: Are Hospitals Ready for the Coming Wave of Corona Cases? | Der Spiegel |]

Controled treatment with attention for compassion!

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 03:42:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not aware of anyone being refused optimum hospital care in Ireland yet whether from an old folks home or otherwise. Of course that may change, but for the moment it would explain a large part of the 10 fold difference in case mortality rates

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 08:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
10 more deaths and 255 new cases confirmed in the Republic: Ten more patients with Covid-19 have died, by far the highest daily death toll so far in the outbreak.
The deaths occurred among three women and seven men; nine were from the east of the country and one from the south.

Thursday also saw a record daily number of new confirmed cases, at 255, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team.

There have now been a total of 1,819 cases of coronavirus in the Republic, and 19 deaths.

The average age of those who died is 79, NPHET said. Some 68 per cent were male and 32 per cent were female.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 09:03:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also : the test used in France is acknowledged to have a high rate of false negatives, up to 40% ... Myself, I'd rather not bother with the test.

The strategy here is to roll out mass testing, with a new generation of rapid and more reliable tests, at the end of the confinement stage.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 03:32:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coronavirus: French PM warns 'first 15 days of April will be even more difficult' as death toll rises - The Local
France orders one billion masks from China

Veran said the government's aim was three-pronged: Increase the number of intensive care beds, get the necessary equipment and human reinforcements for hospitals and to transfer patients around the country to ease pressure on certain hospitals.

The number of intensive care beds in France was initially 5,000, which has since risen to around 10,000 but the government hopes to increase it to 14,500.

Veran said the government was exploring various avenues to get hold of enough masks for French health workers, notably via an increase in production within France to make 8 million a week and by ordering more than one billion from China.

Five million tests ordered

The French health minister also said the country had ordered 5 million coronavirus tests that will be able to show a positive or negative result within 15 minutes.

Between now and the end of April France will be able to carry out 30,000 more tests a day. That number will rise to 60,000 in May and 100,000 a day by June, said Olivier Veran.

France currently carries out around 12,000 tests a day.

Separately the health minister has asked elderly care homes known as Ehpad to keep residents in individual isolation. It comes after numerous deaths have occurred in care homes, especially in eastern France.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 08:24:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
o, m'k. Hold my beer.
by Cat on Sat Mar 28th, 2020 at 10:15:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stunning headline ...

One in five coronavirus patients in Tilburg Hospital had died | AD |

Quite a batting average|

Cluster carnaval -- Loon op Zand - outbreak ..,

Even yesterday before Dutch parliament, RIVM director Van Dissel made some remarkable statements of a curve "leveling off"?

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Mar 26th, 2020 at 05:03:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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