The head of GEMS, an advisory group to the Government of Belgium, called on Belgians on Sunday to stop complaining about Covid-19 and its effects.
While acknowledging that the health crisis and accompanying measures weighed heavily on the population, infectious disease specialist Erika Vlieghe noted that complaining all the time would not help anyone feel better.
“If we do not stop telling ourselves ‘it’s horrible,’ and ‘we can’t stand it any longer,’ then we definitely won’t be able to stand it any longer,” Ms. Vlieghe said on the VRT’s “De Zevende Dag” programme.
“I do not at all wish to deny that it’s very hard for everyone and, certainly, for a whole series of groups such as many high-risk people or young people, that’s undeniable,” she added. “But, on the other hand, I think – I’ve said it before and now I’m going to put it on my sweater – we need to stop complaining.”
Highlighting progress made over the past year, she said “exactly one year ago, we had our first Corona patient and we cobbled together testing units in containers outside hospitals.”
“We were caught in the storm of people coming back from Italy,” Ms. Vlieghe added. “We could only do a few dozen tests per day and now we can administer tens of thousands.
“We have an entire vaccination strategy,” she continued. “It’s going too slowly, in our opinion, but we’ve been able to vaccinate all residential nursing homes. Deaths there have plunged and we’re seeing far fewer outbreaks. That’s enormous progress that we do not talk enough about, but it’s real progress.”
The expert’s statement aroused a number of reactions, especially from politicians.
“Complaining is one of the last freedoms that have not been curtailed, Mouvement Reformateur President Georges-Louis Bouchez tweeted. “It’s legitimate in a democracy. We have to learn to listen to it. Tomorrow, I’m going to print a sweater that says ‘let’s speed up vaccination together.’ That will be more useful.”