Europe’s Second Wave in Coronavirus Cases

Social distancing notices at a London Underground station. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)
Yunese Amatya
December 17, 2020

The COVID-19 virus has overturned the lives of virtually everyone around the globe, with over 64 million recorded cases and 1.5 million deaths. One of the virus hotspots has been Europe, which has struggled to control COVID-19’s spread. While many European countries successfully handled the first wave of cases, they must now reconquer the virus as a second surge emerges. Countries such as France, Germany, and Spain have divulged their plans for the next few months, outlining new regulations, shutdowns, and proposals for reopening public spaces in the future.

 In France, President Emmanuel Macron released a three-stage plan for a weeks-long lockdown from November 28 to December 15. This lockdown allowed for minimal holiday traveling, but all non-essential businesses (barber shops, clothing stores, etc.) closed at 9:00 pm. Churches and other venues opened on December 1 and allowed only thirty visitors at a time. Throughout the lockdown, there was also a curfew from 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM. With the exception of celebrations on December 24 and 31, festive gatherings must observe strict social distancing rules. 

In Germany, bars, restaurants, and museums were closed on November 2, while schools and other shops remained open. Private gatherings have been limited to a maximum of five people from two households until December 20 at the earliest. Public displays of fireworks for New Year’s are banned, but small family gatherings will be allowed. Lucrative ski resorts are bracing for the economic impacts of a postponed sport season.

In Spain, the government’s plan is focused on hopes of vaccinating the population in three phases spanning from January to September, 2021. The country will receive 140 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with plans between the European Union and six pharmaceutical companies (AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen, BioNTech-Pfizer, CureVac, and Moderna). In the first phase, the government will vaccinate nursing home residents, healthcare workers, and disabled people. The goal is to have 2.5 million people vaccinated by March.

These are only a few instances of different nations’ responses to the second wave of cases. Many other nations in Europe and across the world are following suit in their plans to fight the pandemic. With many case numbers still rising, leaders and citizens are desperate to effectively suppress the number of infections. As French President Macron stated, “We have to do everything in our power to avoid a third wave and a third lockdown.” 

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