Soldiers are patrolling the streets of Sydney, Australia’s largest city, and police helicopters have ordered sunbathers to leave the city’s beaches and go home. The moves are an attempt to stop a resurgence of COVID-19. Brisbane, the country’s third-largest city, also extended a tight lockdown for another week.
Australia has been praised for its handling of the pandemic. It has enforced some of the most severe lockdowns in the world. Rule-breakers face $500 fines. Still, protests against the tough measures turned violent last week in Sydney.
Anti-lockdown protesters also clashed with police officers in Berlin, Germany’s capital, venting their anger against new COVID restrictions. At least 600 people were arrested.
Countries around the world are seeing COVID cases soar because of the easily transmissible delta variant of the virus. Cases in Africa have increased by 80% over the last month.
It’s even worse in the US, where the seven-day average of new daily cases hit almost 80,000, more than five times the number of cases at the end of June.
However, in the US, it’s a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that 99.99% of fully vaccinated Americans have not had a case of COVID that’s led to death or hospitalization.
The federal government, and many states, cities, and businesses are beginning to require that some workers be vaccinated. The CDC now recommends that even vaccinated people wear masks in indoor public places and that everyone at schools use masks indoors.