Thierry Baudet, a Dutch politician, claims that less than 2% of the people infected with the coronavirus experience symptoms. He made his claim on the 10th of January 2021 in the late-night TV show Op1. We rate the claim as false.
Thierry Baudet is the front man of the political party Forum voor Democratie (Forum for Democracy, FVD). The party can be identified as a nationalist-populist party and Baudet is known for his controversial statements. Journalists often perform fact checks on claims he makes. The Dutch TV program EenVandaag checked the above claim as well and labelled it as false. However, we think their fact check is not detailed enough. For that reason, we decided to check Baudets claim that “more than 98 percent of people infected with corona, barely experience any symptoms”.
The Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) is a Dutch state institution that specializes in virus control and national prevention programs. For them, the main goal is tracking and fighting the coronavirus. They monitor the number of people infected with the coronavirus and the percentage of people with corona-like symptoms. They advise the Dutch government on how to fight the coronavirus. They launched an infection radar. This monitors the percentage of people who experience corona-like symptoms. This percentage is not the same as the percentage of infected people.
On the 10th of January 2021 the percentage of people who experience corona-like symptoms is 1.7%. This percentage is comparable to the claim. Thierry Baudet claims more than 98% of the people hardly experience symptoms, which means less than 2% of the people do experience the symptoms. However, the infection radar is monitoring the percentage of people with corona-like symptoms and not the percentage of people who are actually infected with the virus. Therefore, we can conclude the following: Thierry Baudet obtained his information from the right source but from the wrong investigation. Baudet is not willing to react on this.
Frits Rosendaal, professor of clinical epidemiology at Leiden University medical Center, did a regional analysis on the percentage of people admitted to a hospital due to their coronavirus infection. The result: 1.000 people of the 17.000 infected are admitted to a hospital. This is approximately 6%, and this is just the number of people admitted to a hospital.
According to the RIVM the total number of people infected with the coronavirus in The Netherlands was on the 6th of February 2021, 1.001.894. On the 2nd of February 2021, the Nationale Intensive Care Evaluatie (NICE) carried out a report with recent corona statistics. In this report: 38.902 of the people infected with the coronavirus were admitted to a hospital. This number includes ICU admissions. (38.902/1.001.894) x100% = 3.8828…%. This means that at least 3.8% of the people infected with the coronavirus were admitted to a hospital. This percentage conflicts with the claim of Thierry Baudet in which he claims that less than 2% experience symptoms.
In short, Thierry Baudet claims that more than 98% of the people infected with the coronavirus barely experience symptoms. However, the Nationale Intensive Care Evaluatie (NICE) reported in February 2021 that at least 3.8% of the infected people were admitted to a hospital. This number does not even include the percentage of people who got very ill without being admitted to a hospital. Therefore, we conclude that the claim is false.
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RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Julia Timte and Marco van der Wal, Windesheim University, Zwolle, The Netherlands