French and German leaders say they have no choice lest the country’s hospitals be overrun. Chancellor Angela Merkel said German hospitalizations have doubled in 10 days. “Within weeks, we will reach the limits of our health system,” she said. “It is completely clear that we must act, and act now, to prevent a national health crisis.”
All of this will cause enormous economic damage after historic losses in the spring. Europe’s nascent recovery will go into reverse, and growth in the fourth quarter could be negative. The impact will ripple throughout the global economy, which accounts for the rout in equities. Investors have been betting on recovery, and at worst targeted lockdowns amid the inevitable fall and winter Covid spikes.
Keep in mind that continental Europe was supposed to have done everything right to prevent another infection surge. The first lockdowns were extensive and prolonged. Governments mandated masks and social distancing. The new surges are due to the insidious nature of the virus, not to policy mistakes. That’s a lesson for Democrats who blame every new American infection on Donald Trump.