As vaccination rates in the United States continue to climb and the collective healthcare burden falls, much of Europe is headed in the wrong direction.
Countries like Germany, France, and Italy are mired in a brutal third wave of both coronavirus cases and economic lockdowns. The painful reversal of progress has previously resolute leaders on their heels.
Ü-Turn: Germany’s Merkel Reverses Lockdown Plans
In the face of rising cases and more contagious variants, earlier this week Germany unexpectedly announced a draconian Easter lockdown that would have locked citizens of all shops and churches.
Public anger quickly mounted among citizens, epidemiologists, business associations, and members of her own governing coalition.
The 180: Yesterday Chancellor Angela Merkel — previously unflappable throughout the pandemic — held a surprise press conference to reverse course on the decision and instead institute a partial lockdown. “This mistake is my mistake alone, because in the end I bear ultimate responsibility for everything,” Merkel conceded.
Meanwhile, the battle between the UK and the European Union (once brothers, now post-Brexit frenemies) over vaccine resources continues to heat up:
- On Wednesday, the EU proposed emergency legislation that would block the export of vaccines to non-Bloc countries due to a lack of “reciprocity” from the UK.
- In high demand are AstraZeneca’s vaccines, many of which are manufactured in the EU and exported to the UK.
At this rate, by the time the beaches of Miami are again filled with tourists from New York, the beaches of Mallorca will remain in the dreams of Berliners.