The Utrecht-based writer Anne Eekhout is writing special mini-columns about life in times of coronavirus for Thuisagenda Utrecht. We’ve translated them in English for the Home Agenda of MAG Utrecht. 

When I hear Jaap van Dissel from the RIVM talking about the infection rate and the tipping point, I’m glad that the Netherlands doesn’t have to rely on my logic. I’m glad that people who understand things like confidence intervals, spread of infection and correlation are at the helm. Otherwise we might have had to ban butterscotch custard (hopjesvla in Dutch). It’s like this: my granny always used to have butterscotch custard. Because in her day, butterscotch (hopje in Dutch) was a traditional sweet that tasted of cosiness. What’s more, even with the best will in the world, you couldn’t eat too many of them in one go because it they were so hard that the enamel fell off your teeth just looking at them. Sensible sweets.

I was contemplating two separate facts when I suddenly had a eureka moment: 1: old people enjoy eating butterscotch custard; 2: old people have a higher risk of dying from corona. See what I mean? I know the logic is flawed, but I’m just saying. If we consider a longer period, spread across the average population density per square kilometre, and if you assume a stabilisation of 28.3 and a transmission rate of 54 per mille, notwithstanding the risk assessment of 14 March 2020 and taking into account a rise in the number of IC days per person divided by the number of years above the age of seventy, minus 1.8 percent, one plus one is no longer simply two. So as suggested in my earlier reasoning, we can carry on eating butterscotch custard. Yippee!

Anne Eekhout lives in Utrecht and published her first book Dogma in 2014. It was nominated for the Bronzen Uil, an award presented to the best Dutch debut novel, and appeared on the longlist for the AKO Literature Prize. Her second novel entitled Op een nacht (2016), earned her a nomination for the BNG Bank literature prize. Her third book was published last year: Nicolas en de verdwijning van de wereld.

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