Philippe Devos (Absym) on the coronavirus: “The message from the authorities is vague, it is dangerous”

The president of the Belgian Association of Medical Syndicates (Absym) is once again sounding the alarm: by navigating between alarmism and reassuring messages, the authorities are blurring their communication. At the risk of rendering the recommendations ineffective

Face to the coronavirus, Belgium is busy organizing a psychological paradox. The message is blurry, it’s dangerous. ” Doctor Philippe Devos, intensivist and president of the influential medical union Absym (which affiliates the vast majority of medical specialists) does not go there, once again, not with the back of the spoon.

Ineffective message

A psychological paradox? “Yes, because on the one hand it says” the situation is getting worse, which is why we are issuing social distancing measures “. And on the other hand we say, the ministers of health in mind, “it does not matter, it is just a big flu”. We are facing a communication paradox, what the Palo Alto school (Editor’s note: a current of thought in the humanities born in the 1950s in California) called the double bind or double constraint ” In short, this double constraint evokes a situation in which a citizen is confronted with two contradictory pressures which, researchers say, is a source of mental suffering.

“In the current situation, this paradox of communication induces in people’s minds that the message is considered to be false. Impossible for people to understand the situation, “continues Dr. Devos. “This is partially linked to the country’s institutional situation: the authorities are trying to be as diplomatic as possible in the face of the prerogatives of the different levels of power that should not be offended. The result is that the main message is defeated as a precaution. “

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Straight into the wall

With what consequences? “If we continue this way we go straight into the wall. Today, we do nothing more than Lombardy when it was in our situation. And again, she had already closed her theaters which is not our case. See where it is today … We absolutely must go further in the measurements if we do not want to live in an extreme situation. The United States is gradually closing their universities and meanwhile senior universities continue to operate with us. Find the mistake ! “


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