Several European countries, most notably France and Germany, have announced new COVID lockdowns in response to rising infections, which will last four weeks through most of November. These lockdowns are going into effect despite the fact that both countries have strict mask-wearing requirements.
President of France Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation on Wednesday, explaining that the nation would be closing on Friday, October 30, for four weeks. The only acceptable outing would be for essential work or medical reasons. While restaurants and cafes will remain closed, schools, factories and farms will continue operations.
“The economy does not have to stop,” Macron said in a national address to the French. “We are a united nation with solidarity, and it is on this condition that we are France.”
He argued that without taking these measures, the country would be “overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt will be harder than the first.”
On Tuesday, October 27, the country confirmed 33,000 new COVID cases.
Germany is also imposing new, hefty restrictions, beginning on Monday, November 2. Those include closing restaurants, gyms and theatres, but it appears as though people will still be able to go in for work as necessary.
“We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency,” German Prime Minister Angela Merkel said.
In the United Kingdom, authorities estimate that 100,000 people are catching the virus every day. Officials announced on Wednesday, October 28 that there were 24,701 cases and 301 new deaths.
Protests have recently erupted in Italy after new COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in the country, which experienced one of the world’s most severe and earliest lockdowns. The government announced that bars and restaurants would close at 6 p.m., and cinemas, gyms and swimming pools were also forced to close.
It’s in response to a rising second wave of the coronavirus that’s exploding across the continent, and despite the strict rules regarding mask-wearing.
In France, mask-wearing in public became mandatory in August, and Germany imposed a 50 euro fine for those caught without a mask in public around the same time.
So, despite those efforts, why isn’t it working?
There could be several possible reasons. For example, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showed that mask-wearing is less effective when people take them off to either eat at a restaurant or gather with family and friends.
People are also generally tired, lonely, depressed and anxious due to the shutdowns, and the desire to spend time with family and friends may overrule the desire to follow all of the medical guidelines, which would result in more people being exposed to the virus.
Unfortunately, it appears as though the U.S. may also wind up facing more shutdowns throughout the country due to the strong possibility of a second wave. The stock market is already feeling the strain, as this week the market has had its worst dip since June 11.
Americans remain concerned about a second wave as well, with many considering restocking their supplies to prepare.
At this point, when it comes to the coronavirus, it appears that the end of the pandemic may be more elusive than ever.
Photo from Shutterstock
Visit our Election 2020 page