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Corona Journal #3: We could have imagined this

Published on 20th March 2020

WARNING: The following is not a piece of fact-based journalism, but a real-time dystopic documentation inspired by the surreality we live in. Reader discretion is advised. 

Confirmed cases: 2.995 (+534)

Deaths: 106 (+30)

Days in self isolation: 9 

Symptoms: periodic shortness of breath (less than the days before)

Body temperature: 37.0C

Our King delivered a sterile speech with a muddled message and cringeworthy wordplay. I will not bore you with repeating any of it. His speechwriter should be fired. 

I've been racking my brain about whether my shortness of breath is anxiety induced, or because I've been infected. I'm a hypochondriac – but in this case me knowing whether I have contracted the virus is not only a question that needs answering for my own sanity. Knowing who is infected is the number one piece of data we need to fight the spread of this virus.

But here in The Netherlands, most people are not tested. Testing is now limited to the elderly, chronically ill, or other people who are hospitalized with symptoms. You have to be knocking on death's door to know whether the virus has taken hold of your life.

South-Korea has tested almost 300.000 people in total. Our neighbour Germany is testing up to 160.000 people a week. I can't even find how many people The Netherlands has tested on the official website. Even if we wanted to, we've been told by the authorities we don't have the capacity to test on a massive scale. 

And if we don't test, if we don't contact trace, we can't 'control' the spread, as is our government's current policy. 

Now the situation is quickly escalating.

Two days ago the head of the Dutch Association for Intensive Care said that the ICU's in the epicenter of Noord-Brabant were "radiating peace and quiet."

This is the message from an ER doctor in that region today: 

"It looks like a war situation, that's the way it feels now. We couldn't have imagined this." 

If we looked at Wuhan, we could have imagined this. If we looked at Lombardy, we could have imagined this. But we remained blind.

The war is upon us. We need a country-wide lockdown. Now.