To prevent the epidemic or to promote the economy? This is the problem that has been plaguing many countries in the US and Europe since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic. As vaccination coverage expands, the epidemic is showing signs of easing and some regions are gradually releasing controls in the hope of easing economic recovery.
However, the Delta strain of the New Coronavirus has not let up its attack because people have let down their guard. Many Western countries have recently faced a significant rebound in the epidemic and have had to tighten up their prevention measures again.
“Victory” is too early to say, and disagreements are interfering with the fight against the epidemic
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of confirmed cases of new infections in the United States has risen rapidly since July, with a daily average of 128,347 new cases in the seven days up to Aug. 16, the highest level in six months.
This is a new round of epidemic rebound. early July, the U.S. single-day new confirmed cases have dropped from a peak of about 300,000 to about 10,000. President Joe Biden said at the time that the U.S. “has the upper hand” in the fight against the new coronavirus and was “closer than ever to winning the battle against the epidemic. In many places, even if the number of vaccinated people did not meet the herd immunization standards, the control of the epidemic was released.
However, premature optimism was “smacked in the face” by reality. The epidemic is so strong that hospital beds are tight. Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that in Florida, nearly half of the ICU beds are occupied by newly crowned patients, and only 46 ICU beds remain in Alabama. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Wolenski said at a White House briefing on the 12th that more than 90% of counties across the U.S. have a “high” or “higher” risk of transmission of New Guinea virus.
In the face of a worsening epidemic, some areas of the United States have tightened their epidemic prevention measures. But the political and social climate in the United States is deeply divided, making it difficult to move forward in the fight against the epidemic.
For example, although some areas have restarted the “mask order”, many states such as Florida, Arkansas, Texas, and South Carolina have different attitudes towards the “wear a mask” basic prevention measure. As the school season approaches, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has even issued an executive order prohibiting schools from introducing mask mandates.
Meanwhile, fake news, misinformation and conspiracy theories about the new coronavirus, vaccines and vaccination measures have spread like wildfire on social media platforms, inflaming the emotions of some people and shaking their resolve to fight the epidemic. Recently, there have been demonstrations against the “mask order” in schools in many parts of the United States, with protesters holding signs that read “Wear a mask or quit school” and “No masks for kids,” and chanting over and over again The protesters held signs saying “No masks for kids” and shouted “No obedience” over and over again.
“No virus has ever been so politicized as the new crown.” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University.
The cumulative number of confirmed cases of neo-crown in the United States has exceeded 37 million, with more than 623,000 cumulative deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University 18.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next few weeks, the United States exceeds 200,000 new confirmed cases on a single day,” said Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, in a recent interview with Fox News Channel, “We never thought the U.S. epidemic would return to this kind of peak, again. It’s heartbreaking.”
Rushing to unseal dangerous ‘lie-ins’ worrisome
The consequences of prematurely relaxing the epidemic have also become apparent in Europe.
As the epidemic improved in June, some countries relaxed their epidemic control, but then a new wave of outbreaks swept through Europe. On the latest ECDC outbreak map, half of the European Union and the European Economic Area are covered in orange, red and dark red, representing the severity of the outbreak.
The Iberian Peninsula, southern France and the Mediterranean islands, all traditional summer destinations in Europe, have been the first to relax controls and are currently the most affected areas by the outbreak.
Malta, for example, has a population of less than 500,000 and relies heavily on tourism. Since mid-July, the outbreak has rebounded significantly, with daily cases rising from single digits to triple digits, and both the EU and the U.S. are advising people to travel to the country with caution in the near future.
Matteo Bassetti, director of the infectious disease unit at the San Martino Hospital in Genoa, Italy, told Xinhua, “We previously expected the peak of infection to occur at the turn of August and September when people finish their vacations and school reopens, but we didn’t expect to see such an outbreak in July.”
The British government implemented the final phase of the “unblocking” in England as planned in late July, when it lifted the requirement to wear masks in indoor public places and no longer limited the number of people who could gather socially; no longer required to maintain a social distance of more than 1 meter, except for some specific places; all business premises could resume operations; and no longer required to work from home.
Academics from Queen Mary, University of London, Oxford University and the University of Leeds said in an open letter published in the international medical journal The Lancet that the British government’s decision to “unblock” was “dangerous and hasty” and that the letter was signed by more than 1,200 scientists.
“The UK’s policy does not just affect us.” Christina Pagel, a professor in the Department of Clinical Operations Research at University College London, said, “The UK is a global transportation hub, and any variant of the virus that spreads in the UK could spread to other parts of the world.”
Data released by the U.K. Department of Health show that the seven-day average daily number of new confirmed cases in the U.K. is on the rise as we enter August. As of the 17th, the cumulative number of confirmed cases of new crown in the UK has exceeded 6.3 million, and the number of deaths exceeded 130,000.