Back in March, April, and May, the whole of Europe recorded its coronavirus peak with 35,000 to 38,000 cases being reported during the period. Once the peak was attained and the cases began to fall in number, there was a relief and gradual return was on cards as well. It was time for the ‘new’ normal, everyone acknowledged. However, the past week has shown the figures shoot past 200,000, and this second surge is much higher. The main reason – though there hasn’t been a definitive study as such – appears to be the outset of winter and the subsequent shift of activities to closed spaces. In addition to this, the winter festivities haven’t dimmed down either.
The effect of getting back to ‘normalcy’ is also turning visible now, nearly two months after workspaces and universities slowly began opening its doors to active schedules. It’s natural to feel a sense of fatigue after months of staying inside and curling away from the usual. Declining numbers and the confidence that comes with this tend to nudge us into letting the guard down at times. Countries like Spain even opened up its door to visits. The current increase in cases hints at the need for caution – in a constantly moving community where the virus hasn’t yet been wiped out entirely, one needs to be wary. Personal hygiene, sanitation, social distancing and other newly-adopted norms necessitated by the pandemic must be followed without a lapse.
The surge also indicates that the road to economic recovery is going to be stalled for a while. National lockdowns have been declared a second time around for many countries. Angela Merkel stated that this year, Christmas was going to be different and the winter might be a long, hard one. She was heckled by AfD members while addressing the parliament. Many are in disagreement with the restrictive measures making a comeback, but it’s better to prevent than have a threshold-breaking number bend the capacity of healthcare systems here. Until we have a vaccine that provides sure immunity against SARS-CoV-2, there should be a readiness to keep all senses awake and make the new measures a part of our lives; to adapt and move ahead.
It’s easy to critique the guidelines as a sign of over-cautiousness and even label it an encroachment of personal liberty, but this really is nothing when you compare it to the immense effect that carelessness would usher in. There’s no ground to draw a parallel between precautionary measures and “dictatorship”. It can be frustrating to have disruptions in our day-to-day routines but there are some things that are in our control and some others that aren’t. The viral spread happens to fall in the latter category. When the season itself poses possibilities of hiccups, foresight and prompt action are the only things that can come to our aid – in this situation, an all-out resumption of massive activity is a no-no.
The next month is crucial in tackling the rising numbers and if need be so, Christmas too might have to be a little different, as Merkel pointed out. But to get past this surge, we must correct our mistakes from earlier and brush away conspiracies about lockdowns, even if this requires over-caution (as some like to call it).