Europe has become covid-19’s epicenter again, with several countries at the worst stage of their outbreaks since the pandemic began.
In Austria, covid-19 infections are at their peak, with an average of nearly 11,000 new infections reported each day. On Sunday (Nov. 14), the government ordered a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated residents. Starting Monday, anyone 12 or older who hasn’t received the jab will be barred from leaving their homes except for essential tasks, such as buying food.
“It’s our job as the government of Austria to protect the people,” chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told reporters in Vienna on Sunday. The new lockdown will affect 2 million people, a little over 20% of the population.
Cases started surging in October in several western European countries, with the most severe increases being recorded in Germany and Netherlands.
The spikes are alarming, considering more than half the population of these countries is fully vaccinated. Both Austria and Germany have vaccinated 69% of its population, while the Netherlands has hit 70%, and Norway 75%.
The resurgence in Europe may be a preview of what’s to come for the US with the weather getting colder and families gathering for the holidays. In the US, only 59% of the population is fully vaccinated. As Americans head into the winter season for another year of the pandemic, they may see yet another wave of covid-19.