Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases And Lockdowns, World Waits For Vaccine

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With COVID-19 cases surging and no vaccine ready, people are anticipating at least another year before they’re ready to fully return to how they lived before the pandemic, according to a study by PYMNTS.

The study, conducted among both consumers and business owners, found that almost no one anticipates being able to return to normalcy before then.

Reuters reported that European citizens are seeing governments enact new restrictions to try to quell the recent surges in the virus there. In Italy, protests against the restrictions on restaurants and bar closing times turned violent, including petrol bombs thrown at police.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said there is “exponential growth” in cases in that country, with infections rising 70 percent to 75 percent in the last week, according to Reuters. And in France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told the country that “difficult decisions” would have to be made in the wake of the government’s extremely strict restrictions not helping to get rid of the virus.

In addition, France, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the U.S. have also reported record numbers of infections. The virus has infected over 43.4 million people around the world, and 1,158,056 have died, Reuters reported.

The U.S. in particular has seen almost half a million infections in the past week, including a wave of hospitalizations in the Midwest, according to Reuters. Over 5,600 people died from the virus last week in the U.S.

Illinois has emerged as a hotspot in the past week, Reuters reported, with over 31,000 new infections. Only Texas had more new infections in that time frame. Because of that, indoor dining in bars and restaurants will be suspended by Wednesday, with gatherings now limited to under 25 people.

And beyond that, the European Union has warned that there won’t be enough vaccines to cover the entire European population until 2022, Reuters reported. The vaccines secured by the bloc may not be produced widely enough and haven’t been proved effective as of yet.

The EU, which consists of 27 countries, has booked over 1 billion doses of potential vaccines from three drug makers, and the first doses could be available by early 2021.

But until there are enough vaccines, the PYMNTS survey found 59 percent Americans have said vaccines are the primary way they’d be able to relax and consider the pandemic over. Only around 6 percent said lifting government restrictions would be enough, while 46 percent would find a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory sufficient to go back out like they used to.

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