24 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – The peak of the second wave is now two weeks behind us, and we are seeing a further decline in infection, hospital and death rates albeit the decrease is slowing down. Yesterday AstraZeneca and the Oxford University published interim results from large-scale clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil of their Covid-19 candidate vaccine. Interim results show that the vaccine is 90% effective if inoculated in two stages: half a dose first, before a full dose a month later. It drops to 62% if the vaccination consists of two injections of a full dose. But there have been no severe cases, nor any hospitalisation. Hence, also this vaccine can claim a very high effectiveness. Net-net, the road is still long, and it will not be without obstacles but as a minimum we now have three powerful vaccines in the final stretch for being distributed. The more vaccines there are, the more manufacturing and distribution capacity there is, the better it is to resolve the situation and counter the impact of Covid-19 on our lives. On display a beautiful seascape to cheer up the day – Albertstrand, Knokke, Belgium.
23 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – The figures continue to move in the right direction and promising vaccines are scheduled to receive European market approval before the end of the year. This doesn’t mean, however, that we will be able to put the pandemic behind us any soon. According to our Prime Minister, De Croo the lion’s share of the coronavirus vaccines ordered for our country won’t be available until the second and third quarter of 2021. The good news is that the government seems to be clear on who will be first in line for the vaccine. First of all, healthcare professionals because they are exposed to the virus and we need them to look after others. Then it will be the turn of the over 65s and vulnerable people. Meaning it will take a while before most Belgians are vaccinated against the coronavirus. We seem to be set for a long and dark Covid winter. Meanwhile, Belgian businesses continue to report turnover losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the prospects for this quarter and the next quarter are also very dim. In light of this grim outlook, I decided to post this disconsolate picture of my hometown. Indeed, it is not all love and roses in Ghent – Ghent, Belgium.
22 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – Last Friday 313 patients with coronavirus were admitted to Belgian hospitals. 489 COVID-19 patients were discharged. During the last week an average of 3,939 people tested positive for the coronavirus every day. Although we passed the peak of the second wave, we still have a very long way to go. In the Netherlands 5,974 new cases were reported last Friday. Despite that the Dutch situation remains, as a minimum, as worrying as in Belgium, some Belgians are crossing the border to enjoy amusement parks and other attractions. Not a smart move! Meanwhile, we continue our staycation in our hometown. On display today is a picture from the new bicycle bridge crossing the Scheldt – Ghent, Belgium.
21 November 2020: Despite the light at the end of the tunnel let’s continue our efforts even if they hurt.
21 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care has fallen below the level of the peak during the first wave. Also, the number of deaths, patients hospitalised and new infections are further decreasing albeit at a slower pace. Just as we have passed the peak of the second wave in Belgium there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. The first vaccines to protect us from the virus will be available soon, probably at the start of next year. In light of this positive news virologists expressed their concern about what might happen if the current rules in place to curb the further spread of the virus are relaxed for the festive season or if large numbers of people flout the coronavirus rules over Xmas and the New Year. A study has found a significant number of us don’t plan to stick to the rules limiting social contacts during the forthcoming Xmas and New Year celebrations. Let’s hope that we’re not confronted with a third wave before things get better. So please, let’s continue our efforts, even if they hurt. On display today is one of the roads into Ghent early morning. This is a very different view from what we saw during the first lockdown earlier this year – Ghent, Belgium.
20 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – Belgium has now officially dropped out of the top ten list of the European list of countries with the highest number of Covid-19 infections per inhabitants. After beingat the top of the list for several days at the end of October, then falling to sixth, Belgium is now in 14th place, according to the most recent data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).However, the number of patients in our hospitals is still very high and higher than in most other countries. Our hospitals have been and still are under heavy pressure, but the good news is that everybody is getting proper treatment and that we haven’t seen scenes like other countries with patients being treated in corridors or on parking places. Due to our complex state structure with eight health ministers many things have been going wrong during this pandemic but as a minimum we got this right. So, big kudos to all healthcare professionals who have been going the extra mile since February to cope with this unprecedented health crisis. On display is the University Hospital in Ghent. On the façade neon lights display “Blijven Vechten” - freely translated in English “Keep on Fighting” or using the words of Bob Marley “Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight!”. Thank you! Ghent, Belgium.
19 November 2020: In Belgium all indicators for how we are dealing with SARS-CoV-2 are edging lower, but we are far from deconfinement
19 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – For the first time since the start of the second wave of the corona crisis all indicators are edging lower: the number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths are all lower than last week. However, there has been a slowing down in the fall in the number of infections. Despite the encouraging numbers we are still a long way from having won the war against the virus. It looks like we will have to live with the constraints necessary to contain the virus for some time to come. Visits to our grandparents will continue to happen in a surreal setting for the next couple of months. Try to explain this to a 2-year-old child. Oh boy our world has changed… Wevelgem, Belgium
18 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – On Monday 16 November there were 276 hospital admission, while 123 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospital. In total there are currently 6,580 COVID-19 patients being cared for in Belgian hospitals. Of these 1,408 are on intensive care wards. A little bit of good news but still a long way to go. Last Monday we saw the reopening of schools with pupils attending all lessons in person in kindergarten, primary and the first two years of secondary and we will need to see if this will lead to a kink in the downward trend of the curves. Let’s hope not… Also, in The Netherlands the number of coronavirus infections has declined for the third week in a row albeit at a slower rate than in the first week of the extra lockdown measures that were announced a fortnight ago. And although the pressure on Dutch hospitals continues to be very high these extra measures, such as the closure of museums, cinemas and swimming pools will be lifted as of today. At home, residents will also be allowed up to three visitors per day, instead of two. To me “it’s a keep your fingers crossed” decision… On display today is the Heuvelpoort, an important crossing in Ghent; traffic is notably lighter during these corona times… Ghent, Belgium.
17 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – The rise in the number of deaths being linked to coronavirus is slowing down. Also, there has been a further fall in the number of people being treated for the coronavirus in hospital. On average during the past week 463 patients were hospitalized a day. That figure is down by a fifth on the week. And there was more good news yesterday. Moderna, a US pharma company, announced that the analysis of interim results of their phase 3 trial show that its Covid-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective in reducing the risk of contracting the disease. We’ve now two vaccines at the eve of being approved by the both the FDA and the EMA. In the wake of this news the government decided that the vaccines will be available in Belgium free of charge but that nobody will be obliged to get a corona vaccine jab. Still, they are targeting seventy percent of the population to be inoculated. A taskforce, including scientists and government representatives, crisis managers but also representatives of professional organizations and technical working group, will be set up to decide on the roll out of the vaccination campaign. Net-net, we’re heading for the right direction and hopefully the empty streets and squares will be filled with people again at the beginning of next year… Ghent, Belgium.
16 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – I find it hard to find beacons of light that might lighten up my day. Yes, the corona statistics continue to improve in Belgium, but the number of fatalities is still on the rise. The measures that were implemented to curb the further spread of the virus are paying off, but some people find it increasingly hard to comply to the rules and it puts a strain on the relationship between the police and some youngsters. Yesterday in Brussels 3 officers were injured when they were attacked during a corona check. Meanwhile, in the US the virus is surging, breaking infection records across the country. Whilst more and more people are wondering if Trump is attempting a coup or is just throwing another tantrum the country is surpassing 11 million infections as of yesterday and is facing the most dangerous public health crisis since the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. For me, as indeed for many in these difficult days, walking and capturing my hometown as it unfolds in front of my eyes continues to be a lifeline to sanity. On display today is the “Book Tower”. The tower is part of the Ghent University Library and houses more 3 million books – Boekentoren, Ghent, Belgium.
15 November 2020: Update on The Corona Pandemic – Over the last week on average 6,213 per day people tested positive for the coronavirus. Also, fewer people had to go to hospital to receive treatment for coronavirus infections: the daily average for the past week was calculated at 486, which is about a quarter down on the week. The number of people that are treated on the ICU remains more or less stable. Unfortunately, the number of fatalities is still on the rise. It has now reached 201 per day in the past week, lifting the total number of Covid deaths in Belgium to more than 14,000. Yesterday’s encouraging news was that The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that it plans to give its opinion in favour of a first vaccine against the new coronavirus by the end of the year, with a view to distribution from January. However, it doesn’t mean we will be out of the woods as of then. The vaccine will be available to only a very small slice of Europeans at first, a complex distribution strategy needs to be put in place and the results of the first vaccination campaign will only be seen months later. Net-net, we still have a long way to go before we can return to our normal lives. I hope that today’s beautiful autumn colors make it all a bit more palatable – Citadelpark, 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!