The coronavirus that’s hiding the truth from us

Romania’s population decreased from 23,2 million people in 1990 to 19,2 million people in 2020. How we lost 4 million inhabitants in 30 years seems to be of no concern to nobody. From 314.000 newborns in 1990 we dropped to 178.000 in 2020. Last year we had 35.000 more deaths than the average of the last five years. We could bring the pandemic and the deaths reported as being caused by COVID as argument, but they represent less than half, 17000. The rest were caused by the indifference to those who had the misfortune to suffer from less mediated diseases.

Last year were reported 18.000 more deaths caused by illnesses of the circulatory and respiratory systems (plus other 17.000 deaths reported as being caused by covid). Still, we need to keep in mind that an important percentage of the sick killed by Covid had comorbidities that reduced the body’s response substantially. The medical conditions that have been communicated as presenting a high risk to the Covid patients are those that saw an increase in the number of deaths. Thus, the number of deaths caused by sugar diabetes increased by 35% while infectious and parasite diseases increased by 20%. Only the patients who were not infected with SARS-COV-2 at all.

In 2020 the number of flu cases doubled, reaching almost 30.000 compared to 14.000 in 2019. Interesting how the number of flu cases in 2019 is higher than that in the period 2014-2018 altogether, and that in 2020 it’s higher than in the last 10 years.

Statistically we’re not doing bad

Romania’s population decreased by almost 20% and the number of deaths is increasing considerably, and the number of births is also decreasing dramatically. The natural growth dropped from a positive 67.000 in 1990 to a negative -57.244 in 2019, then literally collapsing to -118.736 in 2020. If this trend continues and no one intervenes, Romania’s population will decrease under 15 million in less than 20 years.

The reasons are complex and include all elements that ensure a nation’s wellbeing and survival. Politics, economy, education, health or environment protection are sectors in which corruption and tribal interests have become endemic and impossible to control. Romania ended up not only Europe’s landfill, but, according to official data, a real extermination space to its own population.

We have been constantly complaining about medical services, health policies and the situation in Romanian hospitals or health units. We always compared ourselves to the West and keep our eyes on the Occident, from where we hope to be delivered solutions. The truth is that many of the myths we got used to accepting casually are in fact cosmeticized truths or distorted interpretations of the actual situation. The reality is that our hospitals are unable to ensure medical assistance at the level of those in the West, mainly, because of those who manage them and of the medical staff that they exploit out of personal or group interest.

The number of doctors in Romania is not so dramatically inferior to that of Germany, Spain or Italy. We used to have more doctors per 1000 people than Great Britain and Luxemburg and almost the same as France and Belgium in 2018. However, we need to consider that, in the last 2 years, the number of doctors increased, from 59.000 in 2015 to 65.000 in 2020. Since the beginning of the pandemic, but more and more visibly in the last year, we have seen a reverse exodus of doctors, from their emigration countries to their native countries. Romania is no exception and it’s not a coincidence that the number of nurses has also increased significantly, from 120.000 in 2015 to 138.000 in 2020.

Romania has, unlike Western states, the advantage of a much younger medical staff. In Italy, the percentage of doctors over 55 is 56%, and in Germany and France it is over 45%. In Romania we are keeping a quite reasonable balance, only 22% of the doctors being over 55, and 31% being even under 35, the same as the Netherlands or Great Britain. You would think that young medical staff could bring freshness and a patient-centred approach to medical practice. The reality is exactly that, most young doctors practice medicine with respect to the Hippocratic Oath. 

We have everything, except health

In the Romania of the last 2 years more co-citizens of ours died than in any of the last 30 years. Not only because pandemic waves have been hitting us endlessly. It happened because those in the system don’t shy away from exploiting opportunities to prosper, together with their families and those they serve. The number of hospital beds decreased by 45% from 207.000 in 1990 to 134.000 in 2020, although the number of hospitals (both public and private) increased from 412 in 1995 to 527 in 2020.

A dramatic decrease, but which explains the situation of medical assistance, especially in rural areas, we can see that as far as medical dispensaries are concerned. In 1995 we had 6.000 such units registered, compared to 184 in 2020. It is true that many of them became cabinets for family doctors, but the services provided by them are, many times, obviously inferior to those of a medical dispensary. A transformation just as spectacular can be seen in the case of the 1527 public dental cabinets that were compensated by the 15.617 private cabinets in 2020. Only 33 stayed public. Out of 521 public polyclinics from 25 years ago today we find… only 4, to which we add 81 private ones. A cannibalization of the health system from which gain, and keep on doing so, all those that exploit it, in the detriment of the patient, more and more neglected.

In 1995 Romania had 957 pharmacies. Last year 7.604 pharmacies and 1.714 pharmaceutical points were registered. An increase of over 1000% of an industry, that of medicine trading and, especially, of thousands of products that ensure self-medication. For a country in which mortality is double compared to Western Europe and surpassed only by Bulgaria, Romania represents an almost unique trade market for the Big Pharma industry. The paradox is that the medication we needed, without exception, has never been available. From childhood vaccines to cancer treatment, from diabetes medication to that for those infected with coronavirus, in Romania you can’t find anything you might need. Naturally comes the question, how do the almost 10 thousand commercial units that trade medicine survive? Practically, we have one pharmacy/ pharmaceutical point per less than 1000 inhabitants with the right to vote. In other words, we have one pharmacy per family doctor.

Emergency medical assistance has seen a significant decrease in 2020 compared to 2019, in the conditions of a medical system overwhelmingly centred on the coronavirus pandemic. From 2,6 million people transported to emergency services in 2019, to 2,3 million in 2020, although ambulances barely had time to fuel.

Malpractice, extended close to premeditated murder, is covered by dispositions that forbid autopsy in the case of patients declared deceased because of the coronavirus. This given that almost each of us knows at least one example of a deceased person that was not infected, but was reported as such. What is happening to the investigations that were supposed to take place in the case of other deaths? Those caused by denying access to vital medical services or those caused by the indifference authorities and doctors manifest towards other conditions. More Romanians have been dying due to the deliberate destruction of the health system in the last 2 years than because of covid, but it seems like no one is willing to react. Sponsorships pour in waves more often than the pandemic, the rest we hide under the rug. Then we pull it from under our feet.

(an article by Homo Ziaristicus)