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European Union leaders pledged on Thursday to follow “the best available science” in their coronavirus response. But after several weeks of resisting the same expert advice, they are now catching up with the trend.
With the surge in infections, countries are taking containment measures every day. But the reluctant and casual response across Europe shows how political leaders have spent recent weeks in collective denial.
Even now, they are plagued by the dilemma they have faced since the beginning of the pandemic: following scientific advice will save lives, but it can also damage the economy.
Due to the announcement of new restrictions in Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bavarian Chancellor Markus Söder urged quick and decisive action. Public health guidance is linked to political and economic realities. The tension between the two emerged in Berlin on Wednesday.
Soder said: “It̵
EU leaders have reopened schools in recent months and relaxed other restrictions.
But it is clear that the second wave of new infections has swept across European states, including Germany and Soder’s own Bavaria.
Fearing the economic costs of the new lockdown and the political shock of citizens who desire a normal life, EU leaders have reopened schools and relaxed other restrictions in recent months. This has proved to be a false hope, that is, during the worst of the crisis Passed.
Even countries that think they defeated the virus in the spring have seen high numbers of cases, such as Portugal and countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
Some scientists said they were shocked by the complacency of political leaders because they expected that in any case, as the weather gets colder and social life returns indoors, the number of cases will increase.
Debby Bogaert, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We saw the exact same thing happen again-it’s like we lost a common memory of what happened six months ago.”
Some countries are seeing their country’s strong opposition to the first wave of management. In France, health minister Olivier Véran and former prime minister Edouard Philippe and others searched their houses as part of the government’s investigation into their response to the pandemic.
In some cases, the contradiction between reality and policy this week is almost absurd.
European Council President Charles Michel insisted that EU leaders meet in person this week, only after the departure of European Commission President Ursula von der Laing and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin Isolate because they both discovered that they had been in contact with someone recently. The test is positive.
Last week, on the same day the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, said he was isolated from the world, the Parliament announced that it would resume the plenary session in Strasbourg. On Thursday, the parliament changed its route, saying that going to Strasbourg was impossible.
At the same time, national politicians’ efforts to promote a return to normal life seem to contradict scientific advice and ignore the reported trend of increased infections.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron finally took action on Wednesday, announcing curfews in nine cities, and the country set a record of more than 26,000 cases in one day. In contrast, in March, the government asked everyone to stay at home every day, only about 1,000 people a day.
Other countries are still shaking.
Belgium has tried various measures since the case began to jump in August, but Belgium has been banning bars and many night venues from operating. It is only in recent weeks that hospitals have become vacant, and the entire country has been designated as a red zone, and stricter measures have been announced.
Throughout Europe, public health experts have long predicted the second wave of craze and warned that this virus will continue to pose a serious threat until the vaccine is available. This vaccine still exists for several months or even longer.
However, some governments actively choose not to implement expert recommendations in order to take more stringent measures. The Dutch government’s expert group complained at the end of September that the government was abdicating on issues such as masks. Then, last Tuesday, it announced a sharp U-turn, partially locked.
“They wait, they wait, and public health workers…know that you need to act now, not a week or next month” —Debby Bogaert, Professor, University of Edinburgh
In Ireland, experts recommended that the country implement the strictest measures in early October. But the government decided to keep bars, restaurants and shops open on the grounds that experts did not understand the economic consequences of such extreme measures.
At the same time, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ignored the recommendation of an expert committee to impose a “circuit breaker” for nearly a month.
Bogut lamented that politicians were advancing at “their own speed”-much slower than the advancement of experts.
She said: “They wait, they wait, and public health workers…know that you need to take action immediately, not a week or next month, because then you will run again after the fact.”
Summer is over
After the spring ban, many countries encourage summer travel to make up for economic losses. In May, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis even referred to the tourism industry as the “conclusion” of the blockade. When he pushed to reopen quickly.
However, not all politicians use their brains on the beach.
In July, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides urged countries to use the summer to prepare for the second wave of cases that may occur in the fall, and promoted more tests, contact tracking and availability. Interoperable tracking applications.
However, in some countries, infections have increased during the summer (albeit at a slow pace), and by early September, infection rates have been rising throughout most of Europe.
Kyria Kidds called again on September 24.
Kyriakides said: “We cannot lower our vigilance,” she herself had to be isolated briefly due to the risk of infection. “It is clear that this crisis is not behind us. We are at a decisive moment and everyone must take decisive action.”
The challenge she faces: The EU does not actually have any legal mandate for health policy-governments are still reluctant to seek clues from Brussels.
For example, on September 4, the European Commission introduced a proposal to strengthen coordination on travel restrictions among EU countries. EU ministers spent five weeks discussing the plan, and finally approved the plan after approving the reduction of regulations on how the government treats travelers from high-risk areas.
State of science
There is a scientific explanation for the increase in the number of European cases. On the one hand, countries have greatly increased testing.
Another obvious trend is that the virus is now spreading mainly among healthier young people, which means that hospitalization rates and deaths have decreased overall. In addition, doctors know more about how to use drugs such as remdesivir and dexamethasone to treat COVID-19.
“Given age distribution and given morbidity, mortality will be exactly the same as in spring” —Carl Lauterbach, Member of the German Social Democratic Party
But now it is almost certain that someone has warned of the increase in the number of deaths-it is entirely a mathematical problem.
“According to age distribution and morbidity, the mortality rate will be exactly the same as in the spring.” German Social Democratic Party member, Congressman Karl Lauterbach said. He said that the situation will get worse in “the countries that have delayed the adoption of important and necessary measures for the longest time”.
Despite this, many scientific experts are still reluctant to declare that a complete blockade is necessary, which gives some politicians more reasons to postpone.
In a paper published in The Lancet in September, scientists pointed out the restrictions on movement in 82 countries/regions around the world: “Although these measures may save lives, they have paid a heavy socio-economic cost. .”
At the same time, it is difficult to design a more targeted strategy. In September, Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, refused to advise all EU countries to close bars and restaurants. Instead, she urged countries to stay vigilant to spot hot spots and try to reduce opening hours or limit capacity.
Similarly, the committee urged young people to “do more” in a letter issued on Thursday to stop the spread.
Bahar Tuncgenc, a psychologist at the University of Nottingham, said the government should not blame citizens, but should communicate more clearly.
Tengenke said: “The government needs to be transparent about what its goals are, what its plans are, and the possibility of moving forward.”
She said she was puzzled as to why politicians did not prepare for the mass revival. Tuncgenc said: “The government will never know that this situation will continue into winter. All scientific advice says so.”
Elisa Braun, Nette Nöstlinger, Eline Schaart, Barbara Moens, Jakob Hanke Vela, Paola Tamma and John Rega provided reporting for this article.
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