A year after Italy became the first European country to impose a national lockdown to contain the spread of the Corona virus, frightening calm prevailed again, with new restrictions imposed on Monday in an attempt to stop a third wave of infections threatening to wash Europe and overcome the mass vaccination program.
As outlining the measures on Friday, Prime Minister Mario Draghi warned that Italy was facing a “new wave of infections” driven by more contagious variants of the Coronavirus.
As before, Italy was not alone.
“We have clear indications: The third wave has already begun in Germany,” Lothar Wheeler, president of the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, said during a press conference on Friday. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban expected that this week will be the most difficult since the beginning of the epidemic in terms of allocating hospital beds and breathing machines, as well as mobilizing nurses and doctors. Hospitalizations in France are at their highest since November, prompting authorities to consider a third lockdown.
US officials are watching these developments with cautious eyes. In a White House news briefing on Monday, Dr. Rochelle Wallinsky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pleaded with Americans not to be complacent as the number of cases fell from their peak. She indicated Pictures of young men gathered on the beaches of Florida, Although people are generally safer outside than at home, and for European countries as a warning.
“Each of these countries had its current counterpart, and each of them took an upward trend after ignoring any mitigation strategies,” she said. “They took their eyes off the ball. I plead with you for the health of our nation. These should be warning signs for all of us.”
Death rate in the United States About 1,400 people remain every day. This number still exceeds the peak of summer, when Patients filled the Sunbelt Hospitals And an outbreak of disease in it Countries Reopened Early It led to record numbers of cases, although daily deaths nationwide remained lower than the first increase last spring. The average number of new cases reported per day remains similar to the numbers reported in mid-October.
Across Europe, cases are rising. Lack of supplies and skepticism about vaccines, as well as bureaucracy and logistical obstacles, have slowed the pace of vaccinations. Governments are putting the exhausted population under lockdown. Street protests turn into violence. A year after the virus began spreading in Europe, things are alarmingly the same.
In Rome, empty streets, closed schools, closed restaurants, and the canceled Easter holidays came as a respite to some residents after months of soaring injuries, hospital suffocation and deaths.
“It’s the freedom to go back to lockdown, because for several months, after all that happened, people of all ages have been going out and behaving as if there was no problem,” said Anarita Santini, 57, as she cycled past the Trevi Fountain. It is a popular site that has not received visitors except for three police officers. “At least like this, the air can be purified and people will be afraid again,” she added.
For several months, Italy had relied on a color-coded restrictions system that, unlike last year’s total lockdown, sought to strangle emerging outbreaks surgically in order to keep a large part of the country open and functioning. It doesn’t seem to have worked.
“History is repeating itself,” Massimo Galli, one of Italy’s leading virologists, told the daily Corriere della Sera. “The third wave has started, and the variables are working.”
He said: “Unfortunately, we are all deluded that the arrival of vaccines will reduce the need for more strict lockdowns.” But the vaccines did not arrive in sufficient quantities.
Sherrill Jay Stolberg Lauren Lyzer And the Mitch Smith Contribute to reporting.