England, France, and Ireland start their journey back to normalcy.
As the surge of the Omicron variant is ending, the new reality that the airborne coronavirus that causes covid is here to stay is being embraced by European leaders.
In the United Kingdom, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson just announced the end of COVID-19 measures including mandatory face masks in England.
“Our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally… because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A.”
Johnson said none of the so-called Plan B measures would remain in England when they lapse on Jan. 26, as face masks would not be legally enforced anywhere and COVID passes would not be mandatory.
The government said it would also no longer ask people to work from home, effective immediately.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday that the government will lift most of its COVID-19 restrictions in February.
Starting February 2, stadiums, arenas and other large-capacity venues will be allowed to operate at full capacity again. Homeworking obligations will be lifted, though it will still be encouraged, and masks will no longer be required outdoors, as is currently the case in many cities.
On February 16, people will be allowed to eat and drink in stadiums, cinemas and on transport, as well as being allowed to drink while standing in bars. Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen, though the government was unable to specify whether masks would be required.
Prime Minister Micheal Martin of Ireland says the nation will scrap almost all its COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday.
Ireland had the second highest incidence rate of COVID-19 in Europe just last week but also one of the continent’s highest uptake of booster vaccines, which has helped keep the number of seriously ill people well below the previous peak. read more
“We have weathered the Omicron storm,” Martin said in Friday’s televised address, in which he said booster vaccines had “utterly transformed” the situation in the country.
“I have stood here and spoken to you on some very dark days. But today is a good day,” he said.
I am glad to see that other countries are at least heading back to normalcy. I suspect many of the rules that remain will disappear as the covid cases get milder and the benefits of natural immunity are better appreciated.
Natural immunity was six times stronger during the delta wave than vaccination, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report, published Jan. 19, analyzed COVID outcome data from New York and California, which make up about one in six of the nation’s total COVID deaths.
The study has limits — namely, it was done before the omicron wave and doesn’t factor in any information about boosters. It does, however, broadly agree with studies from other countries.
I would like to give a hat-tip to Sweden, which clearly adopted the most sensible model at the start.
For more than a year, Germany has reported more new COVID deaths per million than Sweden each day, despite endless media praise for N95’s, medical grade masking and strict vaccine passports for most businesses
I wonder why Sweden doesn’t get praised for having better results pic.twitter.com/USgVDVj7vr
— Ian Miller (@ianmSC) January 21, 2022
Finally, as a Californian, I share this sentiment:
"I feel like a person sitting in the Soviet Union watching the Berlin Wall fall. The UK has ended its COVID regime. The movement will spread worldwide. I hope someday it comes to California."https://t.co/T5DEJ2pDbx
— Jay Bhattacharya (@DrJBhattacharya) January 21, 2022
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.