By Michelle Moreno Lira
Despite implementing COVID-19 restrictions, cases in Europe have spiked once again and hospitals are preparing for a new wave of sick patients. Some countries in Europe are enforcing a four-week lockdown as a result and are only allowing residents to go out for essential activities.
The Prime Minister of England, Boris Johnson, gave an announcement this week detailing the precautions they’re planning to take before the cases become higher. In an article provided by BBC, they explain how the lockdown will help prevent hospitals from being unprepared. Although officials expect hospitals and essential healthcare workers to be overwhelmed, they’re preparing for “hospitals even in the southwest of England, where cases are among the lowest, will run out of capacity in weeks.”
It’s admirable that the Prime Minister of England is acting quickly to help protect residents and prepare hospitals for the new wave of COVID-19 cases. According to BBC, many people feared that their businesses would suffer, but officials acknowledged the public’s concern and confirmed the “furlough system paying 80% of employees wages will be extended through November.” Despite the nation suffering from business closures and employees losing their jobs, Europe plans to support their employees and maintain a steady paycheck until November.
Concerns about a second wave came when the World Health Organization and elected officials saw a spike in cases and deaths. Although this four-week lockdown has its effects on different people, I believe it’s intelligent to shut down the country to protect residents and healthcare workers.
In an article by CNN, they discuss the new data that lead to this decision, “Europe recorded a 22% increase in new coronavirus cases and a 43% increase in deaths in the seven days to Tuesday.” Although it was a 22% increase, Europe decided it was in everyone’s best interest to shut down again and restrict everyone to only essential activities.
Instead of refusing the need for a lockdown, European countries used all of their available resources and are preparing ahead for any events that may be presented following new case numbers. Many countries should look to European countries as a guide for handling COVID-19; in order to prevent more deaths and COVID-19 patients, Europe took action and closed non-essential businesses along with non-essential restrictions. Their actions are commendable despite residents becoming anxious and stressed about everything closing up again and having no choice but to remain home.
People at the beginning of the pandemic feared the effects of the virus, yet as lockdowns began and businesses began to close, many saw the effect it had on their personal lives aside from COVID-19 related effects. An article from CNBC explains a shift in reactions and compliance from people in European countries, “people strictly followed the rules there at the beginning of the outbreak, but that’s changed.” Although officials fear a bigger rise in numbers, the public seemed to comply less this second lockdown out of frustration.
While it’s understandable that a great deal of people are under stress and other anxiety-related emotions, they must understand that their countries can’t afford a second wave as big as the first. Hospitals and essential healthcare workers have been fighting against the virus since late March, resources are running low for many countries and they’re working hard to maintain everyone’s health. Providing new restrictions, closing businesses and mandating that everyone remain inside (unless allowed to) is a small price to pay for the damages that a second wave can cause.
An uncontrolled second wave can prove to be more damaging for countries that choose not to act immediately. Although European countries have enforced a second lockdown, it’s not as demanding as the first wave’s lockdown was. People’s reactions and feelings towards a second lockdown are different from those at the end of March. CNBC describes these feelings as “pandemic fatigue,” which has caused some people to stop complying with lockdown measures. Emotions are high for everyone right now, yet we must remain vigilant and do our part in slowing the spread.
Europe has maintained a close eye on the number of cases reported, which has allowed them to prepare their residents and hospitals as they try gaining control of the virus. Acknowledging the virus and the spread of the virus will allow Europe to continue moving forward as they focus on the virus day by day.
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