The Netherlands’ lockdown stands as a warning to the United States, other European countries and Covid hot spots across the globe. The warning, though, isn’t just about Omicron — other countries have more coronavirus cases and worse vaccination rates than the Netherlands does, and they are not locking down (at least yet).
The warning is about policy failures — the failure to start a booster campaign sooner, to spin up free testing capacity quickly when needed, to persuade more groups of the benefits of vaccines and to ensure there are enough beds in intensive care. Now our hospitals are already full of patients who are infected with the Delta variant, and we probably won’t have enough beds for all of the people who need care if the Omicron wave hits vaccinated people hard too.
Think of the Dutch lockdown as a Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, a Dickensian warning — in a country where the annual Dickens festival has been canceled — about the need for every country to be on its toes in the pandemic era.