|Bad Times Ahead||
15 October 2020
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Pandemics follow rather predictable patterns. There is the initial wave, a respite, a second wave (that is often worse than the first), another break, and then a third wave. Eventually, the population develops sufficient immunity to slow the spread to a , or the germ evolves into a less virulent disease carrier. In the case of Covid-19, Europe has just entered its second wave, and European governments are trying to tamp down the outbreak. Their results will be a function of how well implemented their measures are.
The seriousness is clear from the recent upswing in infections. The WHO says that Europe averaged more than 100,000 new cases per day last week. Europe now accounts for a third of the cases worldwide according to the WHO. Nor is this a surprise with the arrival of colder weather driving people indoors, and thus, creating better conditions for transmission of the disease.
In part, the Europeans are victims of their anti-virus successes. Having taking down the bug in the spring, they opened up in the summer. As people relaxed, they got sloppy about the basic precautions, and now, they are paying for it.
The New York Times observes, "In late June, revelers in Prague celebrated the end of the outbreak with a dinner party stretching across the Charles Bridge. Spain and Italy, which were hard hit in March and April, threw open their doors to vacationers in July and August. Now, with these countries experiencing an alarming spread of the virus, the carefree days of summer are a distant memory . . . . Germany reported 5,132 new infections on Tuesday, up from 2,639 a week earlier; France reported 120,000 new cases over the past seven days, one of the highest rates in the world."
So, nine metropolitan areas of France including Paris have curfews going into effect for the night-time hours from 9 pm to 6 am lasting for at least the next 4 weeks. In Germany, gatherings are limited to 25 people in public places fifteen in private, with lower levels in designated hotspots. And 11 pm is the hotspot curfew according to Deutsche Welt.
In Spain, which had a hellish spring, the region of Catalonia is closing bars and restaurants for 15 days save for take out food. Navarre nearby has a 10 pm curfew and outdoor sports areas and playgrounds are closed.
In the Netherlands, bars and restaurants are closing for 4 weeks, most sporting events have been cancelled and gatherings of more than 30 people are banned. The government is preparing legislation to make wearing masks in public a legal obligation.
In the UK, the Johnson government has announced a new three-tiered system of escalating measures. This far, only Liverpool is in the top tier, but other cities are likely to follow. Northern Ireland is beginning a four week lockdown with school closures for two of those. Ulster had 100 cases a day in mid-April. This week, it is nine times that. In Wales, the principality's assembly is trying to ban visitors from other UK hotspots.
As for Russia, Deputy Health Minister Oleg Grindev said that 90% of the Covid reserved beds are occupied. The higher grades in Moscow's schools have shifted to remote learning; this follows a two-week break they took earlier this autumn to try to slow the spread. Despite its alleged vaccine, Russia had 14,231 official cases on Wednesday, a record. What of the Russian vaccine? So far, only 100 volunteers have had the shot. Too little, and probably too late.
How bad this gets is largely up to each individual European. Wearings masks, washing hands, staying in and avoiding groups are key to success. Everyone is tired of that, however, and some will ignore the advice of the medical community. It is going to be a bad winter, and such willful failure to follow the guidelines will make it worse.
© Copyright 2020 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.