dr marc van ranst

A short clip from the UK Column featuring Dr Marc Van Ranst who makes it clear that promoting the deaths of people through the media, which naturally occur annually, can affect the people.


Patrick Henningsen, Dr Marc Van Ranst, Mike Robinson

Dr Marc Van Ranst  00:00

I was asked to tell you about my experiences being the crisis manager of the flu Commissioner for Belgium and highlighting the communication aspects. And then you have one opportunity to do it right. [I mean] day one is so important. In day one, you start your communication with the press with the people, and you have to do it right. I mean, you have to go for one voice one message. In Belgium, they chose to appoint a non politician to do that, and I have no party affiliations. And that makes things a little bit, at a time at least, a little bit easier because you’re not attacked politically. Majority minority, that doesn’t come into play, and that was a huge advantage.

Dr Marc Van Ranst  00:45

The second advantage is that you can play in Brussels the complete naive guy, and get a lot more done than you would otherwise be able to do. You have to be only present that first day or the first days, so that you attract the media attention, you make an agreement with them that you will tell them all, and if they call you will pick up the phone. When you do that then you can profit from these early days to get complete carpet coverage of the field and they’re not going to search for alternative voices there. And if you do that, that makes things a lot easier. And then you have to say, okay, well, we will have H1N1 deaths, of course that would be unavoidable. I use their Sir Donaldson’s quote, where he said that in UK, by the peak of the epidemic 40 people would die per day at the end of the summer. So 62, at that time, million people in UK, 40 deaths a day, I worked it out for Belgium, that would be 7 deaths a day at the peak of the epidemic. I use that in the media, 7 Belgian flu, that’s per day at the peak of the epidemic would be realistic.

Dr Marc Van Ranst  01:51

That is true in every year, even in (inaudible) dynamically. That is very, very conservative. However, talking about fatalities is important because when you say that people say wow, what do you mean people die because of influenza. And that was a necessary step to take. And then of course, a couple of days later, you had the first H1N1 death in the country. And the scene was set and it was already talked about. And then you had to pick.

Mike Robinson  02:19

Okay, so it’s pretty clear there he’s making it very clear how you run a narrative whenever you are presenting this kind of information. And a couple of points there, the one he made about deaths is really the most important thing, I think, because what he’s saying is you take a number which is normal, it happens every year, but it’s not reported normally. And then you take that number and you start reporting it. And people think that there’s something special about that number, right. And then, well, in this case, what we’ve done is we’ve added the effects of lockdown onto that so we’ve had some excess mortality. So you take that number and you add a bit more on top and you say this is really serious, even though the excess mortality that you’ve seen, has been seen before in history. We’ve had peaks of similar excess mortality in the past. And then of course, if you don’t take population changes into account you can make the numbers seem even worse again. But he was absolutely making the point that you simply start reporting the numbers and people will get very concerned very quickly and ask questions, you mean people die from this?

Mike Robinson  03:28

This little piece of video was very, very interesting. Now somebody in the chat box was asking, is this a leak? Well, it’s not a leak. These types of conferences are happening all the time. They run by organisations like Chatham House, and other think tanks of this type. And unless you’re watching these conferences, of course, the videos go out on YouTube, whoever sees them other than people who are either invited to the conference know that the conference is happening, or if you’ve happened to have been watching the UK Colunn News, because we tend to report tjhat these types of things are happening on a fairly regular basis, and then you pay attention to it. Otherwise, they don’t get media coverage, and this has been a very key point that I’ve been trying to make really for quite a long time. And that is what’s reported in the mainstream press is important. But equally important, if not more, so is what doesn’t get reported in the mainstream press because there’s stuff going on that we all need to be aware of.

Patrick Henningsen  04:24

So essentially he was saying you take things that are happening really normally in other years, normal death counts, normal incidence of flu or an epidemic and then you kind of give it the Alastair Campbell treatment.

Mike Robinson  04:37


Patrick Henningsen  04:37

You sex it up and then it become,s you know, something bigger. You could do the same thing with a seasonal respiratory virus I’m told. Turn it into a rock star, you know, turn it from a regular busker to the Rolling Stones, and that seems to be what’s happened with the Coronavirus in 2020. It’s become the rock star of seasonal respiratory viruses.

Mike Robinson  05:01

And as it has been pointed out in the chatbox if you were paying attention to that little bit of video, Jonathan Van Tom was sitting in the front row. And so had the full briefing.

Patrick Henningsen  05:12

Oh really? I didn’t notice. Fancy that he was probably no doubt inspired by a great PowerPoint presentation.

Mike Robinson  05:21


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