Austria’s Covid surge is a warning to the world

At the university hospital Salzburg intensive care doctor Andreas Kokofer has been observing Coronavirus disease Infection has a serious inevitability.As the case reaches 15,809 daily record highs On November 19, Kokofer and his colleagues are preparing for the influx of patients.

Salzburg is a special hotspot of the current epidemic. 1,731 cases per 100,000 people In the past 7 days, the total of Austria was 1,110. As the situation is expected to worsen in the coming weeks, hospital administrators in the area have begun to consider the possibility of making difficult decisions about which Covid-19 patients are eligible for intensive care and which are not.

So, how did Austria get into such a terrible dilemma when many countries are planning to withdraw from the pandemic? There are many reasons, ranging from a decline in immunity to a social and cultural storm triggered by long-term political disagreements, leading many Austrians to reject the Covid-19 vaccine.

Crucially, what Austria is experiencing may soon affect many other countries-it all boils down to an unstable digital balance. Because of the danger of losing control of the crisis, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg was forced to make a seemingly unimaginable decision a few weeks ago.As of Monday, the country has entered A month-long nationwide lockdown, Ushered in the return of the restrictions that many people hope to disappear forever. As in 2020, Austrians are required to stay at home and only leave home for necessary purposes. The school is still open, but parents are required to keep their children at home as much as possible.

The decision caused outrage in some parts of the country.Last weekend, 40,000 people On the streets of Vienna, Some people held up provocative placards, comparing Schellenberg to the leader of the Nazis.

However, even though doctors say that the current crisis cannot be compared with the beginning of the pandemic, they are still deeply concerned about how the healthcare system will respond in the coming weeks. “The situation is very tense,” Kokofer said. “We have to cancel planned cancer and heart surgery. The blockade gives us hope that the numbers will reach a stable level.”

Although these new restrictions have unexpectedly hit many people in Austria, experts say the crisis has been brewing for some time. Eva Schernhammer, an epidemiologist at the Vienna Medical University, said that the arrival of winter and people moving indoors make Covid-19 more likely to spread. The immunity levels of people who were vaccinated earlier this year have also begun to decline, making them more susceptible to delta variants.

Schernhammer suspects this is a particular problem for Austria, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe: 65.7% of the population is fully vaccinated, which is lower than the United Kingdom (68.7%), France, Italy, and Germany. In contrast, Portugal has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, with 86.9% of its population fully immunized. As of November 22, Portugal’s daily number of Covid-19 cases per million people is 145, while Austria’s is 1,527.

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