COVID-19

I want to confess that I have underestimated this Corona crisis from the start. I went to the Ottawa Conference in Kuala Lumpur and was talking to my clinical colleagues about the exaggeration of the virus for our health. I have never been more wrong, and I apologize for that. This is one of the biggest crises in the world outside being in a war zone.

So many people are dying as a result of this virus. This is just daunting. We cannot imagine the sadness of the people leaving behind. Our society has come to a complete halt. In addition to the human suffering we have an economic aftermath. We will remember 2020 for the rest of our life.

I also wish to compliment my clinical colleagues who are now in the frontline. Under difficult circumstances they have to do their utmost to support their patients. You have my deepest regards and not only mine. I think the whole society is looking at your achievements from this moment and I think they are all very grateful. Perhaps this is one of the more positive consequences of this crisis. We see more solidarity among people. Looking after each other is the best thing we can do at this moment.

That is also the reason behind sending this newsletter. We wish to provide support to our friends all over the world. We can do very little but to express our sympathy for the situation we are all in. From my friends over the world I hear people are improvising as much as they can. From some I hear that the OSCEs cannot be run because access to hospitals is limited. From students I hear that looking and learning from screens is much more fatiguing compared to live settings. After this crisis we have to reflect on what other effects this crisis has taught us. What can we learn from the massive online education that is currently going on? I had an interview with a national newspaper whether this crisis points to the benefits of more formative assessment. Let’s address these questions when we have more time to think. Let’s first get through this horrible period. And I repeat, let’s look after each other.

Cees van der Vleuten