Several European countries have entered renewed lockdown restrictions within the last week. These include Italy, France, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Bosnia.
More stringent restrictions or partial lockdowns has also been promulgated in France and Germany.
The new lockdowns appear to be mainly caused by the increasing spread of the "UK variant" (B.1.1.7 strain). It should also be noted that rollout of vaccines in some of the above countries has been slow due to the lack of availability as well as the recent adverse reaction pause for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Many of the above countries appear to have re-opened too quickly to try to give a boost to their respective economies. Unfortunately, the third wave currently affecting their populations are the result.
It should be noted that the UK variant is also spreading across the US and is now estimated to drive approximately 20 to 30% of overall new infections. This percentage is expected to increase over the coming days and weeks.
Several states have also recently completely reopened and have gotten rid of their mask mandates, some even going as far as to sue city governments that have elected to keep their own mask mandates.
The above combination, alongside a renewed push to re-open schools for in person instruction, as well as a large percentage of the adult US population refusing to be vaccinated, will portend poorly for the pandemic going forward.
Cases are again on the rise in 15 US states as of the end of the week of March 15th. 2021. These states are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon and West Virginia. If a large percentage of the US population continue to flout public safety guidance regarding masking and social distancing, infections will continue to worsen and we may very well see a third wave like that currently occurring in Europe.