I've already had one tweet that has gone viral:
The first chapters of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the Philip K. Dick novel on which the film Blade Runner is based, are set on 3 January 2021. pic.twitter.com/0lzu8JCQ9N— 𝙉𝙞𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙡𝙖𝙨 𝙒𝙝𝙮𝙩𝙚 🇪🇺 🇧🇪 (@nwbrux) January 3, 2021
The Belgian numbers were cheering me up when I wrote on 1 January. The infection rate has unfortunately been trending up again in the last few days, though there is some speculation that this represents people who skipped getting tested during the holidays (which means the apparent decrease over Christmas was more apparent than real). Hospitalisations, ICU beds, and deaths continue to decrease in general, which is something. But it's clear that we are a long way off getting back to the office. I note that on 16 May, two months into the first lockdown and just after our first tentative return to the office, I wrote that "Today's numbers are again encouraging - 1750 in hospital, 364 in intensive care, 57 new fatalities" - well, today's numbers are not that different, 1955 in hospital, 371 in ICU and a daily average fatality rate of 53.4 for 1-7 January, but not especially encouraging; back in May we were watching a steady decrease after two months, and now it seems much more wobbly after three. A sobering tweet from Peter Donaghy (who sometimes writes as "Salmon of Data") over the weekend:
Over the last 7 days 0.9% of the population of Ireland have tested positive for COVID-19. Not only is this the highest in the world as of now, it's one of the highest rates ever reported. Excluding microstates, only one country (Belgium) has ever reported more cases per capita. pic.twitter.com/zrXC1SNtZW— Peter Donaghy (@peterdonaghy) January 9, 2021
As @peterdonaghy said last night, this 1 Nov Belgian figure was the highest per capita infection rate ever reported for anywhere apart from the microstates; more than 1% of the population over 7 days.— 𝙉𝙞𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙡𝙖𝙨 𝙒𝙝𝙮𝙩𝙚 🇪🇺 🇧🇪 (@nwbrux) January 10, 2021
Though Ireland will beat it in the next couple of days. https://t.co/EUwdjuMQVe
Our municipality is still one of those where the incidence is lowest, and Leuven is still the least affected big city. I had been thinking of going into Brussels this week to see a few people and run a few errands, but the rise in numbers in the capital has persuaded me to postpone that to the second half of the month.
Anyway, still here and still watching what is going on.