‘RIVM already took into account the catastrophic consequences of the corona well before the crisis’

The NOS reports this after studying thousands of released e-mails and other internal documents from RIVM† That responds by saying that the words like “catastrophic impact” and estimates of “tens of thousands of deaths” belonged to the worst-case scenario and were “no prediction.”

Then unthinkable

Nevertheless, it is clear from the internal mail exchanges that RIVM was already preparing at the beginning of February for what seemed unthinkable at the time. That it could be that the entire society would have to be shut down for months. Such measures were finally taken by the Netherlands on 15 March.

On February 13, internal discussions will already take place about purchasing extra oxygen, and the ‘mitigation phase’ will already be included in the scenarios. At that stage, the virus has already spread to such an extent that it can only be slowed down.

After the first patient in the Netherlands was diagnosed two weeks later, RIVM director Jaap van Dissel spoke some reassuring words:

The NOS points out that Van Dissel continued to make the comparison with a normal flu for a long time, also against the House of Representatives. That was at least a week after a worst-case scenario was already on the table internally at RIVM that took into account ‘6 times as bad as the seasonal influenza in terms of number of deaths.’

At that time, Aura Timen would also have stated at a symposium: ‘Is the Netherlands in danger? It seems to me that we are safe in the Netherlands’.

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