Back in August, European politicians were threatening lockdowns and calling for "vigilance." But given the economic devastation wrought by full, nationwide lockdowns, politicians have become fearful of going down that road again. For example, in the Czech Republic, where the seven-day average for reported covid deaths has surged from 7 to 66, the central government has stated it won't make a decision about lockdowns for two more weeks. Meanwhile, Czech citizens are protesting against what restrictions are in place.
But elsewhere in Europe, restrictions are quickly escalating.
Belgium: all bars, cafes, restaurants must close.
Ireland: people are required to limit movement, stay out of each other's homes.
France: new nighttime curfews.
Spain: people can't leave or enter Madrid for nonessential reasons.
Netherlands: a maximum of three people in your home per day.
It should be noted that Spain, Ireland, and Belgium have had some of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. Belgium never really ended strict measures and has always had very draconian measures on gatherings, even during the summer, as other countries were raising restrictions. Belgium now has the worst national covid death rate in Europe.
In Spain, of course, the lockdowns were notoriously strict during spring 2020, with families not even permitted to leave their apartments to gather with family outside.
It was claimed this would all "beat the virus." Of course, lockdowns do no such thing.
As Dr. Gilbert Berdine has noted here at mises.org:
The data suggest that lockdowns have not prevented any deaths from covid-19. At best, lockdowns have deferred death for a short time, but they cannot possibly be continued for the long term. It seems likely that one will not have to even compare economic deprivation with loss of life, as the final death toll following authoritarian lockdowns will most likely exceed the deaths from letting people choose how to manage their own risk.In Sweden, there is still no sign of any resurgence of covid deaths. There is no lockdown, and no general mask mandate. Death rates in Spain, Belgium, Italy, and eastern Europe continue to get worse while Sweden's rate remains stable.
Reprinted with permission from Mises.org.