RTL  published [1] an Interview (8th of July 2020)with Paul Wilmes a Full professor in "Systems Ecology" at Uni Luxembourg.

Paul Wilmes [2] is quoted as saying:

  • LU: "Et hätten ni Deeg ginn zu Lëtzebuerg, an deene keng Nei-Infektiounen derbäi sinn."
    EN: "There has not been a single day in Luxembourg that we did not have new infections"

    Ed. : Unfortunately, that's just a basic fact of life (and science for that matter). There won't be any day that there are no (0) new viral infections in Luxembourg. It is dangerous to think or portray the short term (or even long term) goal as having no (0) infections. That's a matter of impossibility. If interested see my prior post about some of the dynamics [3]
  • LU: "D'Zuelen schwätzen eng kloer Sprooch an d'Wëssenschaft kann nëmmen weider un d'Leit appelléieren, d'Mesuren anzehalen a sech testen ze loossen "
    EN:  The numbers speak a clear language and science can only continue to plead to the people, follow the measures.

    Ed. : This diatribe has 0 content that is convincing or conveying the "Why". If anything, what follows points to science not speaking a clear language.

  • LU: Déi nei Fäll sinn haaptsächlech duerch Infektiouns-Cluster gedriwwen, dat heescht duerch grouss Usammlungen vu Leit. Manner an de Schoulen, mä éischter op de Partyen. Et gëtt awer och sporadesch Fäll vu Persounen, déi sech am enke Kontakt mat Aneren ugestach hunn. Dat Ganzt wier ebe gedriwwen duerch sozial Kontakter
    EN: The new positive tests are mainly rooted in infection clusters, meaning a big gathering of people. It is less the Schools but more partys. There are however also "sporadic" cases of people that infected each other through close contact. The pandemic is driven through social contacts.

    Ed: We learn that the Virus prefers Partys, and the Virus dislikes Schools. We also learn that "social contacts" are the problem. It is evidently the physical distance, not social contact.
    N.B this follows right after the "science speaks a clear language" diatribe.
  • LU: Eng Tracing- App wier en effikasst Instrument, confirméiert de Mikrobiolog.
    EN: He confirms that a tracing app is an efficient/effective mechanism

    Ed:  We learn that tracing-apps are effective - although all data points to the Opposite. As an example, the Germany Corona app had over 14 million downloads. It alerted 310 people, of which we do not even know which ones were actually infected.
Disclaimer: I do think the Pandemic is a Problem, this series is solely looking at the state of reporting and journalism in Luxembourg. There is no intent to downplay the consequences of the Pandemic. It is, however, laughable how the Government and Press fail to communicate consistently, truthfully, and logically. Giving births to deniers as a result of losing trust.

The R number points to weeks where we will need to be cautious in Luxembourg, but it is not through such journalism that we will succeed in winning over the population to do the right thing. A totalitarian draconian political approach won't work either. Be honest/truthful, humble, try your best to be neutral and say what the things are that we/you do not know. That wins trust and that wins the reader because it is truthful. We never were in such a situation, there are a lot of known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Just say it, there is no shame in not knowing.

[1] https://www.rtl.lu/radio/invite-vun-der-redaktioun/a/1545684.html (08.07.2020)
[2] https://wwwfr.uni.lu/lcsb/people/paul_wilmes
[3] https://blog.zoller.lu/2020/07/luxembourg-press-coverage-on-sars-cov-2.html


"The amount of cases in the last 3 weeks has increased 10 fold!"  That's what I read in the article [1] published by RTL today on the 7th of July 2020. There is no indication or thoughts as to what could be the reasons for that increase and the conclusion is left to the reader.

Hoping to see press coverage that went a bit further than just relaying official statements I had a read and also opened up [2] Ben Elsen's excellent statistical analysis.

According to the article, there was apparently a 10 fold increase in the last three weeks - so let's take a look at the percentage of positive tests in that time period :



I am unable to see a 10 times increase in relative Positive Test numbers, so what can that possibly mean?



And that's what we don't call journalism my friends, this article is throwing a bunch of copied figures at the reader, without any additional insights or analysis. Worse, it leaves us with the thinking that all hell will break loose soon.

20 years ago we called that "spreading FUD" (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt). It's the self-feeding journalistic echo chamber that lets the clicks coming and the paranoia rise. It is unfortunately also what creates the very people that ignore the requirements to wear masks because they believe that everything that they read is a bunch of BS and loose trust. (In my humble opinion, such reporting  deserves that judgment).

In all fairness, the R number points to weeks where we will need to be cautious in Luxembourg, but it is not through such journalism that we will succeed in winning over the population to do the right thing. A totalitarian draconian political approach won't work either. Be honest/truthful, humble, try your best to be neutral and say what the things are that we/you do not know. The result is trust because the message is truthful. We never were in such a situation, there are a lot of known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Just say it, there is no shame in not knowing everything at 100% at this stage.


[1] https://www.rtl.lu/news/national/a/1545407.html
[2] https://donneeen.lu/covid19/overview/