As winter approaches, the surge of COVID in Europe may be detrimental to the United States

Winter is here, and Europe has once again become the epicenter of the coronavirus.

Germany’s beloved Christmas market is in danger, with intensive care beds full. Austria tells unvaccinated people not to go to restaurants and cafes. The Netherlands is moving towards a partial blockade, which is the first blockade in Western Europe since the summer.

In Eastern Europe, there Vaccination rates are generally low, The situation is much more serious, with the daily mortality rate of EU member states such as Romania and Bulgaria soaring.The World Health Organization, including Russia, reported on Wednesday that Coronavirus deaths in Europe rise 10% Compared with the previous week, most other regions bucked the trend and declined.

Throughout the European continent, if unpopular measures such as strict closures become widespread again, European governments will watch the possible backlash uncomfortably, even when weighing the dire consequences of public health if security measures are flouted. in this way.

Public health experts warn that colder weather forces people to stay indoors, and holiday parties increase the risk of crowded environments. The frustrating feeling of deja vu COVID-19 is severe in countries such as Germany, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in Western Europe, and new infections are breaking records.

“It is best to cancel all large-scale events,” Lothar Willer, head of the Robert Koch Institute of the German Center for Disease Control, said on Friday, warning that large-scale indoor celebrations could “eventually become super-spreader events.”

In Europe, just like in the United States, it is mainly unvaccinated people who are seriously ill and die.But breakthrough infections — people who have been vaccinated with the disease — and ghosts of reduced immunity are providing new ammunition to vaccine-resistant individuals, adding to political tensions Populist movement across the continent Has been seeking use for several months.

In the nearly two years after the pandemic began, the wave of infections in Europe often heralded similar suffering on the other side of the Atlantic.

Nearly a year after most developed countries started vaccination, the vaccination rate in Western Europe is higher than that in the United States. According to a survey, less than 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated, compared to nearly 67% in Germany and nearly 88% in Portugal. Oxford University Tracker.

Germany, where Won the applause at first The sober, science-driven approach to controlling coronavirus infections has become an example of the painful reversal experienced by a few countries in a pandemic that killed more than 5 million people worldwide. Even in countries that have adopted early disease prevention protocols like this, the highly contagious Delta variant has made tremendous progress this year.

The healthcare system in virus hotspots is under pressure. Even if hospitals in parts of Europe are not overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, there are fewer resources to care for patients with heart attacks or car accidents-this pattern can also be seen The worst-hit states in the United States.

In Germany, the authorities warned that as the daily rate of new infections is close to 50,000, about 3,000 of them will require hospitalization, and about 350 of them will be sent to an already full intensive care unit. Between 200 and 250 Germans die every day.

“Our situation is worse than a year ago, and we are now facing a real emergency,” Christian Drosten, Germany’s chief virologist and government adviser, said in a podcast on Wednesday. He focused his attention on vaccine hesitation and cited “15 million people who can and should have been vaccinated now.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Angela Merkel) is leading a caretaker government and is forming a new government. She expressed public disappointment at 30% of German adults who refused to be vaccinated, saying they did not fulfill their collective responsibility. The long-serving German leader is a well-trained scientist who withdrew from politics and did not seek re-election in the September elections.

Merkel said through a video link at a business meeting on Thursday that her compatriots are likely to think that ready-made vaccinations are “a huge asset, a huge scientific and technological achievement.”

But the outgoing prime minister said that this requires another sentiment: “a certain obligation to contribute to the protection of society.”

The center-left coalition, which is expected to succeed Merkel, opposes a national blockade like the one imposed last year, which has caused economic difficulties for many companies. But this week, a political group composed of the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party, and the Liberal Democratic Party proposed a measure to re-test everyone free of charge, and to conduct mandatory daily testing on nursing home staff and visitors.

Germany’s neighbour Austria has also seen a record daily infection rate in recent days, and the country is trying to distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated people by imposing restrictions. Authorities announced on Friday that in two particularly hard-hit areas, people who have not been vaccinated will be told to stay at home except for tasks such as work or shopping, starting Monday.

Other European countries are taking a more one-size-fits-all approach. The Netherlands announced on Friday three-week restrictions starting on Saturday, including early closure of bars and restaurants and prohibiting spectators from watching sports events.

Like the United States, Germany sees an increasingly tough line between willingness to vaccinate and unwillingness to vaccinate. Some celebrities — such as singer Nina or football star Joshua Kimmich, known for the “99 Red Balloons” — have opposed vaccines, which frustrates public health experts who want to see them as role models.

Among the phenomena familiar to Americans, ordinary Germans often express complete doubts about the views or opinions of the opposition camp.

Nikola Graff, a 52-year-old gynecologist in Berlin, said: “I can’t understand why some people would rather walk around without getting vaccinated – it’s really like seeing people outside driving drunk and deliberately trying to The lives of other people are at risk.”.

The former East Germany has the strongest resistance, but it is not limited to this. Isabel Garcia, a free communications trainer from the northern city of Kiel, has no plans to participate.

“The pressure has become great, but it is counterproductive, because I don’t think you can convince people by putting pressure on them,” said the 51-year-old.

Although public health experts around the world say that the potential impact of COVID-19 is far more dangerous than the risk of vaccination, Garcia called these vaccines “experimental.”

At the same time, many Germans are frustrated with the prospect of winter, in which precious holiday traditions may once again become victims of the coronavirus.

At a Christmas market in central Berlin, 62-year-old Ursula Bergmann, who runs a small stall, said that she was worried that she would be banned from selling glue, which is a seasonal favorite in Germany. Alcoholic beverages.

She said: “The possible restrictions will obliterate the spirit of Christmas.” “There is no mulled wine, it is very desolate here.”

Special correspondent Kerschbaum reports from Berlin, and special writer Kim reports from Washington.

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