Discrimination on age or quarantine on health grounds?
by Eduard Schaepman, on 30 Apr 2020
Dutch people have had enough. We want to go outside, spend money, visit a restaurant... Well, I don't need to tell you: we all feel the same way. We're ready for it. But the government still pays no attention to the enormous economic consequences of this crisis. Rutte didn't offer any perspective last Tuesday, but a week later, fortunately more and more entrepreneurs are insisting on expressing their opinion (and that may sound a bit louder), because #onlytogetherwecansavetheeconomy, I'll say.
But our prime minister couldn't conclude otherwise, he said. Not everyone agrees. Sander Schimmelpenninck (Op1 presenter, editor-in-chief of Quote and entrepreneur), Jacco Vonhof (the face of the Dutch entrepreneurs as chairman of MKB-Nederland) and Robin Fransman (head of Financial Sector at De Argumentenfabriek), for example, all have some ideas for getting the economy back on track. They all see something in a strategy in which we protect certain age categories more (and therefore ask them to stay indoors) than others. Robin is thinking of a 55-minus economy and Jacco and Sander argue for a 60-minus plan.
Opponents (who often passed the age of 55 or 60) talk about 'discrimination'. I wonder how they feel about the current policy, in which we put our elderly away in retirement homes. Sounds harsh, yes, but that's the reality. To protect them, we have to be extra careful and restrict their freedom of movement and their contacts. In my opinion, this is not discrimination, but we are protecting our vulnerable elderly. But I can understand those opponents as well. Because there really are also seniors who have survived corona. In a conversation with my father-in-law, who is of age and therefore also has friends who are of age, he was able to tell me a lot of sad cases, but he also knows enough men who got corona, and only had a small cough and some mild symptoms (it was striking that those guys were still very physically active). So, are we going to ask all men and women of a certain age to stay inside? Or is there another option to protect the most vulnerable people?
And of course, that wheel was already invented a long time ago. In 1993, the Health Council of the Netherlands advised which risk groups qualify for an influenza vaccination. These people have an increased risk, due to their age or other underlying medical conditions. So, anyone who has been invited to get an influenza vaccination is either over 60, or has a chronic disease (including diabetes, heart, lung and kidney diseases) and/or has an immune disorder. This group of people is now also at higher risk. We all know people who are at higher risk, and those that I (digitally) speak to stay indoors as much as possible to keep the risk of infection as low as possible. So, if you ask me, we don't need a strategy based on age, but we need to set up a health quarantine. Does your health put you at greater risk than others? Then you need more protection, and unfortunately you can't go outside yet. And of course, as far as I'm concerned, you will be the first to receive the vaccine as soon as it is available.
What we can do about it for the future is to keep playing sports. Sports physician Ruud van Thienen reported that sports are one of the most efficient ways to boost your immune system. Sport greatly reduces the risk of a viral infection: an athlete only gets such an infection once or twice a year, while a non-sportsman only gets it 3-4 times a year. Check it out: by doing sports alone, you can strengthen your immune system enormously! But also, not too much: if you go over your limits, you have a chance to get sick again. Next to sports you also have to take care of healthy nutrition and sufficient rest (through meditation), and that way you can do a lot yourself to strengthen your immune system!
That' s what I'm doing. I have always been (and still am) a fanatic endurance athlete. On the MTB or racing bike I cover an average of 7500 km per year. About 5 years ago I noticed that I also got weaker muscles, so I also started with kickboxing (I'm still a kid and love to have a little game aspect in it). So now I train 6 times a week (3x duration and 3x muscle and a rest day). You can indeed see a lot of pictures of that on social media, what might even be a bit annoying. And yes, you can call me a show-off, but I do it more to motivate others!