Despite increasing access to the vaccine, January looks bleak around the world as the virus spreads and reshapes itself from Britain to Japan to California, filling hospitals and threatening livelihoods again as governments shut down companies and race to find solutions.
Mexico City hospitals are absorbing more virus patients than ever before. Germany reported one of its highest daily death tolls so far on Tuesday, and boaters in South Africa are struggling to keep up with virus deaths. Even the epidemic is a success story Thailand is fighting an unexpected wave From infections.
As doctors face or prepare for an increasing number of Covid-19 patients after the end-of-year holiday gatherings, an increasing number of countries are reporting cases of a new, more contagious virus that has already spread across Britain.
Margaret Harris, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, said January would be “tough.” The Associated Press. “This thought that sounds like ‘Ah, we’re all tired of it. We want to look at something else. Oh, that doesn’t apply to me … That should go away. It’s really all on deck.'”
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a strict lockdown on Covid-19
* Covid-19 testing before departure is likely legally sound, but exemptions are required, experts say
* Covid-19: ‘I watch entire families wiped out here’: the middle of a bleak winter in Britain
While Britain rolled out a second vaccine this week and some US states began administering booster doses of the first vaccine in the country, access to vaccinations globally is sharply disproportionate. Nor is the supply close to meeting the massive demand needed to fight a microscopic enemy that has already killed more than 1.85 million people.
“We are in a severe pandemic in Europe, a severe pandemic in the United States,” Harris said. “The more you can reduce transmission, the better the chance that your vaccination strategy will succeed.”
Will enter England a The third national lockdown, which will last at least six weeksAs authorities struggle to stop a spike in Covid-19 cases threatening to flood its hospitals.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new strict stay-at-home order for England that takes effect at midnight on Wednesday and includes the closure of schools, restaurants and all non-essential stores, and will not be reviewed until at least mid-February. And the Scottish leader, Nicolas Sturgeon, imposed a lockdown that began on Tuesday.
The two leaders said the restrictions are necessary to protect the National Health Service, amid the emergence of a new, more contagious virus, which has led to a high number of daily infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Siva Anandaseva, senior analyst at the King’s Fund Research Center, said the NHS “is probably going through the most difficult time in living memory.” He said some emergency rooms in the UK had waiting times of up to 12 hours and that doctors were treating people lined up in ambulances outside.
Elsewhere in Europe, Italy extended its Christmas lockdown, Spain restricted travel, and on Tuesday the German chancellor met with state governors to determine how long the latest lockdown will be extended. Cyprus and France are likely to announce tougher measures Thursday, and Ukraine will close schools and restaurants from Friday.
In Latin America, some warn that the worst is yet to come.
The Mexican capital has more people than at any time with the virus during a pandemic, and doctors travel from the least affected states. Its beach resorts are bracing for more cases after thousands of American and European tourists visit during the holidays.
“Maybe in the third week of January, we will see the system tighter, as there will be more emergency cases and cases requiring hospitalization,” said Mauricio Rodriguez of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He blamed the increase on fatigue with social distancing, mixed messages from public figures, and lowered Mexican caution during the holidays.
Beach parties have been blamed for the high number of cases in Argentina, particularly among young people, and the government is considering new restrictions.
In South Africa, The most affected country on the continentThe authorities re-imposed curfews, banned the sale of alcohol and closed most beaches. Zimbabwe has re-imposed curfews, banned public gatherings, and indefinitely suspended schools.
Mozi Helengoa, president of the National Association of Funeral Practitioners in South Africa, told state broadcaster SABC that South African funeral directors are struggling to cope with the spike in deaths.
“It’s something you’ve never seen before.” He said, “We ran out of coffins, ran out of space in the morgue.” “We have a habit of cremating bodies during the day but now we have cremations even at night.
The epidemic is even reaching countries where the virus appears to be under control.
Thailand faces an unexpected surge of thousands in just a few weeks due to complacency and poor planning. The government is shutting down large parts of the country, including the capital, Bangkok, and is considering tougher measures.
“We don’t want to shut down the entire country because we know what the problems are, so can you all shut down yourselves?” Prime Minister Prayut Chan Ou Cha appealed to his nation.
Japan is preparing to declare a state of emergency this week, as it beefed up border controls and speeded up approval for a vaccine after an increase in cases on New Year’s Eve.
Italy is trying to control its recent surge with domestic measures. After two months of restrictions, infections have stabilized but hospitals are still under pressure, hundreds of people still die every day and officials fear cases will increase again due to the holiday encounters.
The holiday worries are not over now, after 2021.
Pope Francis abandoned annual infant baptism rites at the Sistine Chapel associated with the Epiphany holiday on Wednesday. Orthodox Christian countries such as Russia and Greece may face more infections after celebrating Christmas on Thursday. China closes schools early before the Lunar New Year holiday next month, and asks migrant workers not to return home and tourists to avoid Beijing.
Vaccines provide a way out, but they start slowly in many places. Some US states are struggling to secure enough shots and organize vaccinations. The Netherlands has been criticized for being the last country in the European Union to start vaccinationWhich he will do on Wednesday. Australia does not plan to do this until March. Most of the poor countries are lagging behind.
Opposition politician Geert Wilders described the Dutch government as “the fool of the village in Europe”.
However, India offers a ray of hope. Its infection rate has dropped dramatically from its peak in September, and the country is launching one of the largest vaccination programs in the world, aiming to vaccinate 300 million people by August.