In said interview van Trouw with professor of health information Theo Vos, the effectiveness (even necessity) of face masks is underlined threefold. It Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), to which Vos is associated, published a report on the day of Ruttes’ press conference with damning conclusions about the Dutch approach to the corona crisis.
The title of the interview is: ‘Without a mask, the Netherlands will be locked again around 26 November’, and I clicked the article mainly because of the panic-provoking tone. But the more I started reading about this meta-study, the less “panicky” that title started to sound. In fact, ‘that title might just be right’, I thought halfway through the text.
A computer model has been developed based on forty epidemiological studies on the coronavirus, or on viruses that are comparable to the coronavirus (such as Sars in 2002-2004). Face masks appear to be such a powerful factor in that model that it was worth adding a separate line in the forecast graphs. It made a big difference.
As with this type of research, the ‘catch’ is always the words: ‘with unchanged policy’ and; ‘in continuation of this trend’. Nevertheless, the computer model does take some account of what an increase in the number of infections detected, and the number of deaths, will probably do for the implemented ‘current’ policy. After all, a pattern has also been discovered in when governments appear to take stricter measures, and that has therefore been included in this ‘unchanged policy’.
Here you see the prognosis for the death toll for the Netherlands. ‘Easing’ (in red) is the prognosis for relaxed measures, ‘Masks’ (green) is those that become mandatory as mouth masks.
Well, say it! Is the IHME ‘sowing panic’? Or does it feel a bit good that forty studies show that the cabinet, and in particular the RIVM, have done things completely wrong?