As infection rates continue to spike across the continent, many European countries — including France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom — chose to re-enter lockdown within this past week. It has proven to be a grim week for Europe as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic grips the continent.
In France, death tolls were rising so rapidly that hospitals began to struggle to keep up with the rising tide of incoming patients. The French government has instated a nightly curfew in various regions across the state in hopes of curving infection rates. Their second national lockdown is set to last until at least Dec. 1.
Spain became the first western European country to surpass one million confirmed cases. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is in the process of asking the Spanish parliament to approve the state of emergency and a nationwide curfew until at least May.
Italy is most notably no stranger to the wrath of the virus, as they still hold the title for the highest death toll in continental Europe. The Italian prime minister recently called for the early closures of bars and restaurants, and the total shutdowns of gyms, swimming pools, theaters, cinemas and concert halls. For the next month, bars, pubs, restaurants and pastry shops will only be permitted to open on the weekends.
Many countries have also shattered any hope for a normal holiday season, as many Christmas markets and seasonal holiday events have been canceled for the remainder of the year.
Another wave of lockdowns may too be in the cards for the U.S. as reported cases reach an all-time high.
President-elect Joe Biden’s new COVID advisor, Dr. Michael Osterholm, publicly noted that a nationwide lockdown of four to six weeks could control the pandemic and help revive the economy. The Biden administration is currently working on a possible relief package that would cover the cost of lost income for individuals and governments during a shutdown, ensuring that no one would have to worry about the financial repercussions of staying home for a brief period of time.
Dr. Osterholm had also noted earlier this week that the United States was heading toward “COVID hell,” as more people grow tired of mask-wearing and social distancing and “suffering” from the so-called “pandemic fatigue.” Colder weather also appears to be driving more people indoors, where the virus has the ability to spread more easily.
This new predicted lockdown would look a lot different from the first, as every state would be forced to comply. Coherence in nationwide virus prevention programs has been lacking over the last nine months, as hot spots continued to shift across different states rather than dissipating altogether. Osterholm stated that such a coherent, nationwide lockdown would help the country bring the virus under control, “like they did in New Zealand and Australia.”
As the pandemic continues to shatter records within the U.S., case numbers are trending upward in 46 states and holding relatively steady in four. Most importantly, no state is seeing a decline in cases. As what appears to be the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, countries and cities across the globe continue to take aggressive measures to combat mass-infection.