Today the UK was supposed to get out of a lockdown that has lasted since December. Instead, last week Boris Johnson announced an extension until July 19, to prevent the “Delta variant”Jeopardize the progress made.
The variant is now dominant in the UK and Portugal and it is spreading rapidly across the EU: in Italy we are 20% of new cases. It was to be expected, given its contagiousness. Bad news for “old Europe”?
It’s not over…
Of course, a lot has changed since last summer: now the 47% of Europeans (and 52% of Italians) received at least one dose of the vaccine, and a significant portion of the population has recovered from the infection. Many are, therefore, temporarily immune.
Now, however, the variants make the new coronavirus much more contagious, and the “delta” seems to make it even slightly more dangerous: in the UK, hospitalizations of unvaccinated people increase faster than new cases. The good news is that vaccines appear to offer very strong protection also against the variant. In short, the cases in the UK have quintupled in a month but at the moment, fortunately, deaths remain low. A reason for optimism, even if for now the certainties remain few.
… Until it ended up everywhere
Thus caution returns to Europe. And to say that only a month ago it was achieved the agreement on the “EU Covid Certificate” that from 1 July it should allow vaccinated Europeans to travel safely to the EU, and that recently the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control had promoted much of Europe to “Green area”, ie low risk.
Now we wonder how long the openings will last. A new slowdown in the tourism sector and travel, which for Italy represented 13% of GDP in 2019 (we were seventh in Europe, second only to Spain among the major European countries), would be a heavy blow. Only vaccinations, at the moment, are managing to avoid a new debacle. Those same vaccinations that, however, do not take off in the world, also because of the promises not kept by us Europeans.