Wait, wait... not every idiot in the word lives in America. I've been to nearly every country in the world and there are idiots everywhere... and some every bit as outspoken as the ones here. Today the U.K. reported 32,406 new cases, bringing the country's total to 6,698,486-- 98,078 cases per million residents. Yesterday it was 37,939 new cases and Thursday it was 38,056. In the last 3 days 373 people died of COVID, bringing the death toll to 132,376. Brits, like so many in Florida and Texas, are over the restrictions and starting to ignore the whole thing, at least until it's too late.
Reporting from London today, Mark Landler and Stephen Castle wrote that half the subway riders routinely break the law by riding maskless, while rock fans, sports fans and theater fans seem unaware that the Delta variant is killing people. "The public has moved on, even if the virus has not. Given that Britain has been at the vanguard of so many previous coronavirus developments-- from incubating variants to rolling out vaccines-- experts say this could be a glimpse into the future for other countries. 'We don’t seem to care that we have these really high infection rates,' said Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London who has been leading a major study of Covid-19 symptoms. 'It looks like we’re just accepting it now-- that this is the price of freedom.' ... With nearly 80 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated and the virus still circulating widely, Professor Sridhar said, Britain may be a model for other countries of 'whether you can manage Covid in a sustainable way.' The evidence, she added, was inconclusive because Britain still faces critical challenges, like the reopening of schools on Wednesday. That will almost certainly drive rates up further, particularly because Britain has resisted vaccinating children and younger teenagers."
According to official survey data, about nine in 10 Britons said they had used face coverings within the past seven days when outside their homes. But anecdotal evidence suggests that compliance is much spottier, even on buses and subways in London, where wearing a mask is still compulsory.
After most restrictions were lifted, the transport police lost legal responsibility for enforcement of that rule. That left the task to transportation workers, who have been advised by one union to avoid confrontations with the public.
“Our members have no enforcement powers, and it’s a bit of a farce, really,” the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers said in a statement. “It’s an impossible situation, so our advice to our members is that they should not substitute for the police and should stay safe.”
Outside Downing Street, an anti-lockdown protester, Simon Parry, said he had never worn a mask on public transportation and had yet to be challenged.
“I get people looking at me like I want to kill my grandmother,” he conceded before adding that he thought the argument was moving his way and that one woman had recently shed her face mask after an exchange on the subway. “I make it my mission to get someone to take a mask off in the Tube,” he said.
One government minister, Greg Hands, tweeted a picture of himself on the subway wearing a mask, but complained that only about half of the passengers around him were doing likewise.
The office of London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said its data showed that 82 percent of passengers said they always wore face coverings on subway trains and buses, a solid number given the central government’s decision not to adopt a national mandate for face coverings on public transportation.
Other critics blame the government’s mixed messages, pointing to members of Johnson’s Conservative Party, many of whom abandoned their masks when they returned to a crowded chamber of Parliament recently to discuss Afghanistan. The government’s official position is that people should wear face coverings when confined indoors.
For some who objected to Britain’s recurring lockdowns, the return to normalcy was both welcome and overdue. But some said the tensions between freedom and security could easily resurface.
“The intensity has gone out of the debate, but it will come back if there is another wave,” said Jonathan Sumption, a former justice on Britain’s Supreme Court who has been an outspoken critic of the lockdowns.
“If it does come back,” he added, “we’ll then be in the position that even the vaccines don’t work. What is the exit route?”
Nor is it just the U.S. and U.K., of course. On Thursday, the AP reported that "workers at public hospitals in Greece held a five-hour work stoppage Thursday to protest a government decision making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for all health care workers in the public and private sector." The government is threatening suspension for non-compliers. Greece reported 3,062 new cases today, 3,067 yesterday and 3,528 on Thursday. The total is 579,734 with 13,544 deaths.
France has had the most cases of any European county other than Russia, 6,728,858 cases (102,825 cases per resident) and 114,157 deaths (279 in the last 3 days). There were 17,590 more cases reported today, 18,249 Friday and 19,683 on Thursday. Tens of thousands of people al over the country are out demonstrating against vaccine mandates every weekend. "Under the new pass system, introduced progressively since mid-July, anyone wishing to enter a restaurant, theater, long-distance train, or large shopping center must show proof of vaccination or a negative test. At the head of the Paris march, people held up flags and banners with the word 'Liberty' on them... The protest movement has brought together conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, former members of the 'Yellow Vest' anti-government movement, as well as people concerned that the system unfairly creates a two-tier society" as well as anti-Semites.
Today, thousands of mostly right-wing protesters rallied against health in Berlin while pro-health demonstrators had their own "Train of Love" Berlin rally. Germany reported 5,276 more cases today, bringing the country's total to 3,930,256. Friday it was 11,035 new cases and Thursday it was 12,081. There were 54 new deaths in the last 3 days, bringing the total to 92,597.