Covid-19 lockdown procedures in Europe appear to be paying off as the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a decline in new weekly cases this week while cases continue to soar in the US. Restrictions across the continent ranged from closing schools and businesses in order to limit person-to-person contact as well as mask mandates to prevent the spread of the virus itself.
The WHO reported this week that new Covid-19 cases in Europe dropped from 2 million to 1.8 million over the last two weeks. Hans Kluge is the WHO’s regional director for Europe who recently released a statement regarding how the slight improvement is offering all Europeans a glimmer of hope for the rest of the winter.
“It’s a small signal, but I firmly believe that there is more hope ahead of us than despair behind us. It will be a different Christmas, but that does not mean it cannot be a merry one.”
Kluge went on to claim that future lockdowns are definitely “avoidable,” however, more individuals need to be on board with mask mandates and the use of contact tracing technology. In total Europe has registered 15.9 million cases of Covid-19 and over 359,000 deaths, according to data from WHO, which accounts for 28% of all global cases.
WHO’s data reveals that on average, one European dies every 17 seconds due to Covid-19 complications. Intensive Care Units in France and Switzerland are being especially overrun and nearing full capacity.
The UK accounts for the highest death-toll in Europe, hence why the country is currently in the middle of a second national lockdown. Health minister Matt Hancock spoke with the press this week regarding the lockdown, claiming that “there are encouraging signs that the number of cases is starting to flatten and the lockdown brought on earlier in the month is working.”
In France currently residents are only allowed to leave their homes to buy essential goods or to exercise for one hour a day, and so far there are signs that these lockdown measures are working. Health ministry data for the country showed that there were only 21,150 new cases this past Thursday, which is an improvement when compared to the 28,383 new cases that appeared on Wednesday.
In the US on the other hand, cases are continuing to climb as the nation nears 12 million total cases and 255,000 deaths, according to media data. CDC official Henry Walke spoke with the media about this dramatic rise and how the country needs to begin shutting down like Europe to curb the spread.
“We’re alarmed with the exponential increase in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.”
New York City’s public school system, the nation’s largest, ceased all in-person classes due to the dramatic rise in cases and on the other side of the nation California Governor Gavin Newsom is currently working on imposing new stay-at-home orders and curfews to help flatten the curve in the state. Encouraging new vaccine developments from Pfizer and Moderna have the world feeling a lot more optimistic in regard to this pandemic, however, we all must continue to remain diligent with these restrictions to protect ourselves and our loved ones in the meantime.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.