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We can't have said it enough: what an immeasurable respect for all those care workers today. The heartwarming applause that resonated for several days from hundreds of balconies and from thousands of windows is still too little.

It reminds me a bit of the Y2K period. I started working in 1998 as an IT consultant. A nice period, but also quite a bit of stress. The year 2000 was coming up. Fairly inevitable... We knew that for years... 2000, to be exact. If there's anything you can calculate now, it's years, but anyway. All hands on deck, because just about every line of code ever written, had to be re-examined whether or not a double-digit year had been used. In hindsight, nothing bad happened: no planes fell out of the sky, the stock markets didn’t crash, and the cows were still giving milk. A big sigh of relief... But the general tenor of the rest of the population was rather that of the proverbial fart in the equally proverbial bottle. "Was all that fuss really necessary?" , spoke the vox populi. Only the developers and IT people knew how hard they had worked to prevent worse.

Frankly, I wish the whole healthcare system a joint Y2K moment. Not that I want to confuse this virus with the millennium bug, it doesn't even come close in terms of impact. But we'll look back on this later and presumably Joe Average will say, 'Was all that fuss really necessary?' The sector will know very well how hard they’ve been working behind the scenes in order to prevent worse..

When (not if) all this is over, hopefully we look back on this with a justifiable pride. A number of politicians are using the word war. With an eloquent French president in the lead... Well, then I'll suggest the following. After a war we honor our soldiers, whether with medals, memorials or eternal flames, no matter... This war will be won by doctors, nurses, rack fillers and truck drivers.

So give those people a statue afterwards.

Why not on the village square in Ranst (got it?) , a great memorial for all who are now in the front line. And the first day when there were zero new infections , we proclaim afterwards as a new the new national holiday. And on the first birthday, Marc Van Ranst gets the keys to the palace. And on that day, we also award a trophy to the most hard-working care provider of that year every year... Through public voting, or something... We're used to running elections anyway.

And I even already know what the trophy will look like: a golden roll of toilet paper.

Tom is a regular columnist at De Artsenkrant. This article appeared first in Dutch on March 25th, 2020 in De Artsenkrant.

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