In Flanders – the region worst hit by the virus – many are asking “why is it so bad here?
A large elderly population? Some densely populated cities? (although you wouldn’t know that during the lockdown).
Was it the fact many from here went skiing in Italy at the start of the outbreak and picked up the virus. Or were mistakes made from the start?
That is certainly a question many have been asking in the city of Sint-Truiden where we met the mayor, Veerle Heeren.
She has faced questions and criticism after allowing a large carnival to go ahead at the end of February.
Thousands attended and doctors told us the virus will have been allowed to spread.
But the mayor insists no one could have known what was to come back then.
She said: “Nobody spoke about corona at that time.
“You know, it started with us on 9 March, the beginning of March.
“And the first measures from our national government were taken on 13 March.”
The mayor, who has been applauded for her handling of the crisis since, knows what it is to face the nightmare of COVID-19.
Her husband spent weeks in a coma with the virus and remains in hospital.
She says it has been tough personally but she felt the need to keep on working, to help the community.
Sint-Truiden is in Limburg – the worst affected of Flanders’ five provinces – where hospitals, care homes and families have been feeling the pressure of tackling the virus.
Dr Raf De Keersmaecker, chairman of the Limburg Province Association of GPs, knows of many colleagues who have caught COVID, some ending up in hospital.
We meet him outside a surgery where patients not showing virus symptoms are taken to one building and those who are taken to another.
Doctors in full protective suits and masks accompany the latter.
He has a firm theory on why Belgium’s death rate is so high compared to other countries – greater transparency.
He said: “We record everything. Deaths everywhere, not just in hospitals.”
And that includes deaths suspected to be from COVID but not actually tested. More of those deaths are in care homes.
Dr De Keersmaecker said: “If we think the people are dying of COVID, we count it.
“Of course, that (accounts for) the higher level of dead people in our country.
“In most countries they don’t do that. They only take deaths from the hospitals. We even have people dying at home.”
The differences in recording COVID deaths make it hard to compare statistics between nations and could mean Belgium’s figure is more realistic or even lower than data now suggests.
It could also mean the number of deaths from COVID in other nations is higher than thought.
Health ministry spokesman Emmanuel Andre recognises Belgium’s way of recording deaths pushes the country to the top of the rankings but is unapologetic.
He argues it is the best way to get a true picture of what is really going on.
He said: “So the point of including suspected cases is to get the best picture of the level of this outbreak in our community, including outside the hospitals.
“And if we know this then we can better act on controlling this outbreak at the source of infection.” Race to develop a vaccine could leave a lasting legacy
The aim in Belgium now is to test everyone with COVID symptoms whether in hospital, care homes and the wider community.
That will be a costly and lengthy process, but will tell the story of what is really happening.
But until other countries do the same comparisons between nations may be meaningless.