In the last few months, many European countries assumed they were in the clear from the wrath of Covid-19, but that has proven to be false in recent months. European countries like Spain and Belgium have seen recent spikes in cases that have worried many health experts. The amount of new cases of Covid-19 has risen significantly across the European continent from Ireland to Russia. The complete turnaround of the Covid-19 situation in Europe could be the start of a global second wave of the pandemic.
The European Covid-19 turnaround was a surprise to some and a long-foreseen event for others. After the first wave of Covid-19 was placed under control in Europe late in spring, many European nations started to take a lax attitude toward public health restrictions. Eventually, some nations even lifted lockdowns completely which made the public confident that the Covid-19 pandemic was no longer an issue. The problem is that the coming of winter means that more people will stay indoors which can spread the virus faster than in the spring.
European Politicians now face a serious dilemma that could determine the fate of their political careers. Politicians could lockdown the country and sacrifice the economy’s health to prevent a United States like Covid-19 disaster. A second wave of lockdowns would bring back economic pains of the late spring and possibly brandish political opposition parties. Alternatively, lighter measures could be taken to lessen the load on the economy, but Covid-19 numbers might spike and create a new wave of chaos. The rise of a new Covid-19 crisis could cause massive public unrest which would shakeup Europe during the next election season.
The decisions made by political leaders right now will most likely determine whether Europe will suffer the same fate as the United States. The rising Covid-19 crisis is not helped by the fact that some countries like the Netherlands are having difficulties with the mask enforcement like the United States. In the United Kingdom the situation is even more dire as the Brexit deadline and the Covid-19 spike are happening at the same time. Unfortunately, this time around the stakes are even higher as the second wave has the potential to spike even higher than the first.
Europe is now a battleground between public health and politics and the ramifications of this battle are massive.
Sources: https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-netherlands-italy-france-czech-republic-987993953a51f39a861c0f481c0e38f8, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/14/world/europe/europe-coronavirus.html, https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/covid-19/situation-updates/weekly-maps-coordinated-restriction-free-movement