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Corona Journal #5: Survival of the fittest

Published on 3rd April 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.

Location: The Netherlands

Confirmed cases: 15.723 (+1.026 /24hrs)

Deaths: 1.487 (+148 /24hrs)

Days in self isolation: 21 

Symptoms: clear

Body temperature: 37.1C

Blood oxygen levels: 98%

A mere month ago, on March 3rd, there were 92.000 cases worldwide, most of them in China.

Today there are well over a million, spread all across the globe.

We're in the thick of it now.

Across the country, our intensive care units are being prepared for the worst and stretched to their limits. Even as we double our beds, at a certain point we won't have enough doctors and nurses to care for these patients. 

As we crash over those limits in the coming weeks, doctors will have to make difficult decisions about who will live, and who will die. And in many cases, they already are.

The patients with a lower chance of survival will have to make room for those with better odds, who are consequently a more efficient use of our limited resources (ie. IC-beds and personnel). 

Simply put: if you're old, chronically ill, or have certain disabilities, your chances of getting an IC-bed in the Netherlands are slim. 

It's survival of the fittest. It's death eugenics.

The Dutch have a * unique * outlook on which lives are worth saving. They frame this as 'having the courage to speak openly and honestly about life and death.'

But how did we get here? Because the limits of our health care system are not a given.

These life and death decisions our doctors have to make are the result of a decades-long concerted effort by our political leaders to hollow out the health care we now most depend on, all in service of saving a few bucks better taken from somewhere else.

Those same leaders are now being hailed as heroes – they are no heroes of mine. 

The real heroes are those on the frontlines of this war against the virus, those in the modern-day trenches we call hospitals. The doctors and nurses who now have to deal with the consequences of ivory tower decisions by penny-wise pound-foolish politicians.

Don't forget this at the next elections.