26 February 2021: In the week to 22 February on average 2293 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is up 23% on the week. In light of these deteriorating statistics the group of experts that advises the government stated that the present epidemiological situation does not allow for any relaxations during the next four weeks. I’m wondering what the latest say of the government will be. Will they be able to resist the mounting demand of pressure groups requesting immediate relaxation of the current measures? Me personally, I’m in full agreement with the experts: there is no leeway for relaxations in March. Since the figures started rising during the weekend, Ghent has reported the highest fourteen-day average for coronavirus infections out of all the major cities in Belgium. The symptoms with which patients present themselves at the hospital are generally more severe than in previous weeks. Additionally, patients are also deteriorating faster. Around half of the patients who tested positive for the virus in the hospital are requiring intensive care, and new hospital admissions are no longer mainly elderly people. According to a lung specialist at the University Hospital of Ghent, these symptoms are typical of the start of a new wave. Let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worse. Meanwhile, in between ongoing video conferences I’m finding joy in taking pictures in Ghent and surroundings and/or in curating images out of my archive. Today’s post is from the midst of this year’s winter snap, just over a week ago – Citadelpark, Ghent, Belgium.
25 February 2021: The trend that was started earlier this week, is being continued as the average number of new Covid cases is up again. In the week to 21 February on average 2201 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is up 20% on the week. In Ghent the rise is a staggering 70 percent. Whilst the coronavirus statistics are taking a turn for the worse the Flemish Prime Minister, Jan Jambon announced yesterday that serous relaxations will be possible as of April. Try to make sense out of that… Yesterday’s good news was that the FDA announced that the one-shot coronavirus vaccine made by J&J provides strong protection against severe disease and death from Covid-19 and may reduce the spread of the virus by vaccinated people. The same statement also said that the F.D.A. could authorize the vaccine as early as next Saturday. I’m wondering how long it will take for the EMA to come to the same conclusion. To cope with the frustration that is creeping up on me I’m continuing to snap my way around Ghent. On display today is a wimmelbild of a bored bus driver waiting for his passengers to arrive – Zuid, Ghent, Belgium.
24 February 2021: In the week to 20 February on average 2170 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is up 18% on the week. In the same period on average 119 people were hospitalized, and 34 fatalities were reported. These numbers are down respectively with 1% and 11%. Other bad news was that both Moderna and AstraZeneca adjusted the number of doses they would deliver at the end of this month, which means people aged over 65 now will not receive their first jabs until 22 or 29 March, instead of earlier in the same month, as was initially planned. This starts looking like a never-ending roller coaster, there's times of highs and lows, going slow, going fast… Very frustrating! To keep my sanity intact, I keep picturing Ghent in all its facets. On display today is another mural from Dok Noord – Ghent, Belgium.
23 February 2021: The number of people testing positive is on the rise again. In the week to 19 February on average 2098 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is up 13% on the week. Virologists haven’t got an oven ready explanation for the increase but are suggesting that the British mutation that is more contagious has an important role in the increase. Also, yesterday, the Belgian PM Alexander De Croo flanked by experts unveiled four models showing how the pandemic could evolve in the Belgian hospitals given the growing number of people who will be vaccinated and the progress of the British variant of coronavirus. The models show what could happen in the event of relaxations starting 1 March, 1 April or 1 May. As may be expected the later relaxations kick in, the happier the situation our country will find itself in as far as the pandemic is concerned. I’m wondering what actions the government will take based on these models. One thing is clear, we should not expect bars and restaurants to re-open in the weeks to come – Berouw, Ghent, Belgium.
22 February 2021: The number of people testing positive has stopped falling during the past few days and it is expected to rise in the days to come. The British variant is now estimated to account for half of all coronavirus infections. In the week to 18 February on average 2005 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is up 4% on the week. As a consequence, no significant easing of coronavirus restrictions should be expected to come out of next Friday’s meeting of the government. The Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that this could only be done responsibly in around another three weeks when the country has a better view on the impact of the British variant of the virus. Yesterday’s nice weather meant that people came out in droves. Despite the fact that people on squares and lawns did not always respect the distance rules or wear a mouth mask the local police called it “pleasantly crowded”. – Citadelpark, Ghent, Belgium.
21 February 2021: The latest figures on the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium show that the fall in the number of people testing positive for the virus stopped. The number of hospitalisations continues to fall. However, the fall is only slight. In the week to 17 February on average 1942 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is flat on the week. In the same period 119 patients with Covid were hospitalised and 37 fatalities a day were linked to Covid. The figures are down respectively 5% and 9% on the week. Despite the rather disappointing figures Saturday’s early taste of spring has meant that thousands of people have headed for the coast for a breath of sea air and a stroll along the prom. In normal times the local authorities and traders in our coastal resorts would be delighted with the influx of day-trippers. However, these are not normal times and too many people in one place can pose risks to public health as we have been made all too aware since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Belgium almost a year ago. On display today is somebody who decided not to head for the coast but to enjoy the beautiful weather downtown Ghent - The small beguinage O.L.V. Ter Hooyen, Ghent, Belgium.
20 February 2021: In the week to 16 February on average 1886 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is down 5% on the week. In the same period 118 patients with Covid were hospitalised and 39 fatalities a day were linked to Covid. The figures are down respectively 7% and 4% on the week. Whilst the decrease of the 7-days rolling average for the key indicators continues to decrease, figures from the past few days indicate that we can expect them to raise again in the days to come. Meaning, the plateau phase in the corona figures continues and it will take patience and persistence before we’ll get to the threshold of 800 infections per day. Yesterday, I took a quick peek at the vaccination center in Ghent that opened its doors for first-line care providers such as general practitioners, dentists and home care nurses. The picture confirms that we’re not off to a flying start. The lack of available vaccine doses made it more of a symbolic kick-off. – Flanders Expo, Ghent, Belgium.
19 February 2021: In the week to 15 February on average 1813 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is down 12% on the week. In the same period 120 patients with Covid were hospitalised and 39 fatalities a day were linked to Covid. The figures are down respectively 2% and 8% on the week. Even though Belgium’s coronavirus infection and hospitalisation figures are continuing their downward trend, they are not good enough to start relaxing the measures that were put in place to curb the spread of the virus yet. 240 coronavirus infections per day per 100,000 inhabitants is still way too high. Compared to other European countries we’re ranking somewhere in the middle. We are doing better than France (400) and the Netherlands (290) but worse than Germany (140). Belgian virologists, therefore, reiterated that the thresholds of 800 infections and 75 hospitalisations per day should be reached first before any relaxation could be considered. One virologist said “If we begin to relax some coronavirus measures before Easter, we would be shooting ourselves in the foot. Going too fast is not an option”. Today, I’m posting the last pictures of last week’s cold snap – Zevergem, Belgium.
18 February 2021: In the week to 14 February on average 1791 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is down 17% on the week. In the same period 119 patients with Covid were hospitalised and 38 fatalities a day were linked to Covid. The figures are down respectively 10% and 7% on the week. As Belgium’s coronavirus infection and hospitalisation figures are decreasing and the vaccination campaign is slowly but surely picking up steam, conversation have turned to which measures could be relaxed next, and when. Experts, however, remain very cautious about possible relaxations in the near future. They want the figures to decrease further before they are willing to recommend any form of deconfinement and even than they stress that it is going to be key that measures are lifted in a gradual manner. I’m wondering what the Belgium government will decide when they meet again on Friday, 26 February to discuss the roadmap for the next phases of the pandemic. In the meantime, I continue to focus on documenting daily life or what draws my attention during my daily corona walks in my hometown. On display today are students hanging out on the St. Peter's Square, located in student neighborhood. The image that I shot late yesterday afternoon suggests that more and more people are fed up with the lockdown and are not respecting social distancing. Now that spring is knocking at the door it’s going to become harder to drive compliance to the measures that were put in place to curb the spread of the virus – St. Peter’s Square, Ghent, Belgium.
17 February 2021: Yesterday another big fall in the number of coronavirus infections and a slight fall in hospitalisations and deaths was reported. In the week to 13 February on average 1785 people tested positive each day in Belgium. The figure is down 19% on the week. Less good news was that the first four cases of the Brazilian mutant have been diagnosed in Belgium. Experts are worried about this variant because they believe that it can infect people that already have coronavirus antibodies. Moreover, there is speculation that existing vaccines will be less effective against this variant. Nevertheless, for the first time in a long-time, experts sound cautiously optimistic. They are saying that if we can keep the figures under control and see them continuing to fall in the next couple of weeks, they are willing to propose to the government a gradual relaxation of the measures that are currently in place to curb the spread of the virus. Other good news was that J&J submitted its vaccine against Covid-19 to the EMA for approval yesterday. The agency has confirmed it could make a decision on the vaccine, which requires just one dosis, by the middle of March. Charlotte and Nicholas are looking forward to going back to what we used to know as a “normal life” – Ghent, Belgium.
"Photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with how you see them."
I just like to take pictures, I just push the button. I never worked in the darkroom, I never studied photography or journalism; I’m just a passionate photographer.
"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure, without a loss of enthusiasm”
Sir Winston Churchill
Therefore, I Am A Believer Of "All Critiques Are Valid". Thank You!