Europe’s Deadly Second Wave


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By early June, Europe was emerging from the depths of its fight against the coronavirus, just as the U.S. and others were fighting record caseloads. Europeans, desperate for a break, headed off for their sacred summer vacations — and paid dearly for it.

The second wave now hitting Europe is deadlier than the first, pushing reluctant governments back into lockdowns and inflicting new scars on the European economy. Swift reopenings with few restrictions, coupled with cross-border travel, turned out to be a deadly combination.

In most European countries, daily deaths are jumping higher this fall than ever before. Nearly 105,000 people died of Covid-19 in November in 31 countries monitored by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

With Christmas approaching, the region is on high alert. Movement between Italian regions will be all but barred between Dec. 21 and Jan. 6, with people allowed to travel only for work, health reasons or emergencies. New Year’s Eve dinners in hotels are also banned and limited to room service. And ski slopes will be closed from the Alps to the Apennines, a coordinated decision by Italy, France and Germany.

The first coronavirus vaccines for adults are nearly ready, but children’s vaccines will take a lot longer. Vaccines that are safe for adults may not be safe for children, and Pfizer‘s and Moderna‘s pediatric trials are just getting started.

Nevertheless, teachers groups and medical experts say children do not need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus for schools to safely reopen.

“There’s very little concern or sense that school shouldn’t be open because the kids aren’t vaccinated,” said Colin Sharkey, the executive director of the Association of American Educators.

For the most part, that’s a straightforward scientific analysis. Young children do not pose a high risk of infecting others, and very rarely experience severe symptoms of the coronavirus.

Teachers will also be among the first people to receive vaccines. And even before teachers are vaccinated, unions and experts say elementary schools can be reopened as long as districts follow protocols for testing, personal protective equipment, physical distancing and ventilation.

“You can reopen elementary schools before you have the vaccine for teachers, but the vaccine will create an insurance that things are safe,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.


A pedestrian bridge will span a stream known as the Sip Avenue Ditch.Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

The United States has had no national day of mourning. We’ve barely had moments of silence, even as the virus reaches new peaks. Hospitals are filling up and people are dying without any place to formally represent our collective grief.

For New Jersey residents, that may soon change. On the site of a former toxic dump, one of the first American memorials to victims of Covid-19 is set to break ground. As part of a $10 million makeover, more than 500 trees will be planted in a grove of the newly named Skyway Park — one for every Jersey City resident who has died of the coronavirus, the mayor, Steven M. Fulop, announced on Thursday.

Each person’s name will also be included on a memorial wall, giving relatives of the dead a place to mourn. Many families were unable to observe traditional funeral rituals as the pandemic ravaged the Northeast. “We wanted to do something significant for those families that didn’t get to grieve properly,” Fulop said.

Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.

Covid saved my life. I reside in Saigon as an expatriate English teacher with a keen sense of irony. Vietnam remains a densely packed country with the populace committed to mask-wearing. But my beard (a remnant of another teaching stint in Abu Dhabi), when combined with the high humidity here, made the mask intolerable. So I shaved my beard. As a result, my wife Alison spied a dime-size basal cell carcinoma below my jawbone, just above the lymph node. My surgery was successful, but I wouldn’t have discovered the cancer without Covid.– Stephen Brock

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