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05/04/2020 The magazine by Communication Science students of the UvA

Be alert, but don’t lose hope

Medium’s writer Jorrit dove into the Coronavirus and gives us the ins and outs. He also tells you why you need to stay positive and hopefull.


The world is in a deep crisis. The spread of Corona is worse than predicted, healthcare systems in various countries on various continents are overrun and in some places, decisions have to be made on who gets to live and who does not. There are a million reasons to panic, but a few reasons to stay positive as well. In an attempt to counter the (very legitimate) negative news reports, Medium found some positive news regarding medicines and antibodies to combat the disease. Because these desperate times call for some positive news.

No signs of a complete lockdown
Dutch prime minister Rutte urged the citizens in a press conference on Monday to stay inside as much as possible, work from home and protect the elderly. Along with this, the state closed bars, restaurants and forbid all forms of physical education until at least March 29th, with a possible extension to April 6th or even longer. However, so far there are no signs of a complete lockdown: Italy, Spain, and France, some of the hardest Corona-hit countries in the world, have closed shops and citizens need a paper with a formal reason as to why they left their own house. None of that (so far) in the Netherlands, reasoning that a complete lockdown would result in the virus being diminished quickly but only temporarily from the country.

Different countries, different approaches 
Many countries have taken a different approach than the Netherlands. England, for instance, still allows its people to go to bars, whereas people in Belgium cannot even leave their houses. In Norway, people get a fine if they are out on the street for no reason, but in Amsterdam, you could go and just buy something like new clothes if you feel like a break. Different solutions to the same threat and there are no options that seem perfect. Though the world seems to be in a complete Armageddon-state right now, there is actually a bunch of better news to report on the virus as well. Not everything is as bad as it seems and chances are that it will get better soon. In Rotterdam, scientists have been able to isolate the cells and are now in a position to fully focus on the infection. Over on the other side of the world, in Melbourne, researchers have found a way to map how immune systems respond to COVID-19. A major breakthrough, as these reactions fasten the appropriate approaches that can be taken by medicals.

If the spirit is there, everything is possible

A promising start 
However, this is not the only good virus-related news. In regards to testing: Ireland has created test kits that can determine a positive Coronacase in just 15 minutes. America is ready to start testing a possible vaccine on humans in April already. Doctors all over the world found similarities between prototypes made for eventual diseases and the actual Coronavirus spreading now, and with Chinese assistance in January, it is rumoured that there is much more knowledge on the virus and its mutation than previously thought. Of course, there is no guarantee that everything will go this quick but it is a promising start.

Controlled spread 

Though, even with this feel-slightly-better-news, it still could take up to months or even years before there is a vaccine. That is why, for now, we are choosing for a controlled spread: hoping the strong people get it first and build immunity so that the elderly are more or less protected and become less vulnerable. But at the same time, with an increase in testing kits, a possibility of recognizing patients in only fifteen minutes and tracking their response to the virus, it will become a lot easier to isolate the weak and protect them from dangerous and sometimes even fatal effects.

Reason enough for some positivity
There is, of course, a reason to panic. A pandemic where almost all countries in the world take measures to first and foremost protect their own citizens is scary, to say the least. Especially when this is combined with many deaths and no vaccine ready yet. Lockdowns in various countries don’t do any favours either and seeing a rise of deaths every day is horrendous. However, with the increasing efforts in production and medical technology, there is reason enough for some positivity. If the spirit is there, everything is possible. Even controlling a threatening and previously unheard virus.

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