After the summer, from Moscow to London, the COVID-19 virus causes fear again. Cases are on the rise in almost all European countries, especially in Eastern Europe, where vaccinations are slow. What makes the difference in the effects of this new wave is precisely the different level reached by immunization campaigns: in states where mass vaccinations have been made, such as Italy and France, the virus has resumed circulation, but is under control. Instead, growth is rampant, with critical and lethal cases in Russia and many countries in the former Soviet Union, where a lack of trust in public institutions after decades of communism has fueled skepticism about vaccine doses.
But the COVID-19 virus is also testing the UK, thanks to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “free all” decision, which has only now been called into question, given the relatively large range of unvaccinated young people: it is no coincidence that infections in In and around London, young people under the age of 18 were brought in (although there were a few small signs of confidence on Monday). Similar dynamics in the Netherlands, which has one of the fastest growing infection rates in Europe: almost all restrictions, including distancing, were removed in September.
In the United States, the contamination curve is decreasing compared to the peak reached in September with the Delta variant. The daily cases are about 73,000, half compared to a month ago. But it is the same level as in October 2020, when vaccines were not available. The same dynamics for the number of deaths (about 1,500 per day) and for patients admitted to intensive care: 14,900. These are more or less the same figures recorded last autumn. The national percentage of fully vaccinated is 57%. On the two coasts, the share varies between 60% and 70%. But in the South it drops to 44% -48%.
The UK seems to have reversed the trend: there were 36,657 new cases on Monday, down 25% from a week ago. Also on Monday, 38 deaths were reported, down 16% from last Monday. The average for the last week is now 45,100 infections per day and 135 deaths. There are 8,239 hospitalized coronavirus patients in the hospital, but only 20% of intensive care beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Currently, 86% of the population over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of vaccine and 79% are completely immunized.
A fifth small wave, perhaps related to the relaxation of the population in terms of the booster dose of the vaccine is what could happen in France, where Minister Veran launched on Monday a booster campaign for the elderly and people at risk . The French over 12 years with full vaccination are 86.2%, the new cases are 5,005 in 24 hours, with 1,227 more than the previous week. But the chairman of the Vaccination Guidance Council, Alain Fischer, is optimistic: “Soon the virus could become endemic, ie present, but without causing severe infections.”
In the last interview as chancellor, Angela Merkel insisted on the importance of “letting the Germans free to choose” whether to get vaccinated. In fact, 66.2% of the population is vaccinated. Only those who have the three “3g” (test, cure or vaccination) can participate in most indoor public life events, from restaurants to visits to loved ones in the hospital. In public transport, the FFP2 mask is mandatory.
However, the virus continues to circulate. The average number of new cases is again around 13,000 per day (12,775 on Sunday), 57% more than 15 days ago; the average death toll was 68 per day in the last week, 11% more than 15 days ago.
The infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants is 95.1: from the peak of May 13 it had not exceeded 100, but the trend is in this direction. However, there are no concerns about overcrowding in intensive care units. The state of national emergency, in force since March 28, 2020, should end according to the law on November 25. And yet, given the new growth, many are asking the national parliament to vote for an extension.
In Romania, the penultimate country in the EU in terms of the number of vaccinated, infections and deaths are at maximum levels. The places for intensive care are all occupied, President Klaus Iohannis called the situation a “catastrophe” before announcing the new severe, anti-Covid restrictions in force on Monday: schools closed, compulsory green certificate and in shopping malls, shops and to go out at night. Here, as in other ex-Soviet countries, the lack of trust in public institutions after decades of communist rule fueled skepticism about vaccines. For the first time, however, the number of people immunized is increasing: they have gone from 30% to 40% in just a few days.
In May, Russia could still believe that the worst was over. But then, with the small number of people vaccinated and the almost total absence of restrictive measures, things rushed. Six months ago, there were 8,000 new cases a day, with 330 deaths and hospitals were no longer under pressure. They rose to 25,000 in July, then fell to 20,000 between August and September. Then, almost 40,000 cases registered on Monday. So are the dead, now over 1,000 a day. And those vaccinated are still few: only 40% of adults. Now Moscow is trying to save the situation: between October 28 and November 7 it closes schools, shops, offices and factories.
After 20 months of closure, tourists can return to Israel next week. Not all: you must be vaccinated or cured and no more than six months have passed since the second dose or the certificate of cure. The country anticipated all the others with the third injection, available since August 2021: serious cases (now 284) have halved since then. Concern remains for the number of unvaccinated people (650,000 out of 7 million who could have done so) and for the million people who missed the third dose. The government is preparing to extend the campaign to children aged 5 to 12.