“I might still feel the anxiety and depression but now that literally everyone is experiencing these emotions to some degree, I feel like I can finally play along with everyone, evenly.”
Rachel Velebny is a freelance writer who lives in Amsterdam with her husband and cat in an apartment that doubles as her office. She sent her postcard on 28 April.
She is currently contributing the text for Startup Guide but her internship at a fashion media company had to be put on hold when COVID-19 containment began.
Rachel moved to Amsterdam from the UK after a period of poor mental health and, in this postcard, she recounts how learning to deal with anxiety means she’s better prepared than most for life in isolation. But that, as she’ll describe, doesn’t mean that The Netherlands “intelligent lockdown” strategy has been without its challenges.
You can access Rachel’s work at rachelvelebny.com
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe, The Netherlands, like the UK and Sweden, were viewed as strange outliers by pursuing herd immunity. The UK hardened its lockdown – though still nothing as stringent as other European countries – whilst The Netherlands has continued its lighter touch ‘intelligent lockdown’. Lower testing and reporting is likely to be hiding the true number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths however, new cases are now slowing.
Results from an initial study of blood donor samples released in mid April showed that only 3% of the population have developed antibodies against Coronavirus. The Dutch health authority, RIVM, are conducting further antibody research that should report back in mid-May.
It will be the first indicator of how successful this more consensual lockdown has been in terms of controlling infection rates to reduce hospitalisations, shielding the most vulnerable, and developing widespread immunity.
In the meantime, the Dutch parliament is about to consult its citizens on potential strategies to lift the lockdown measures.