Highly Vaxxed Europe Must Now Mask Outdoors

Covid-19 vaccine not effective enough to keep Europe from implementing even stricter mask mandates.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Europe has a high vaccination rate, but now the region is enforcing even stricter mask rules, according to The Associated Press (AP), as the vaccine hasn’t been successful at curbing coronavirus infection rates.
  • 73.3% of the total population of European countries have received the experimental Covid-19 vaccine, 69.1% being fully vaccinated, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
  • However, Italy’s government announced on Christmas Eve that FFP2 masks must be worn on public transport, including planes, trains, ferries, and subways.
  • That’s even though all passengers in Italy, as of this week, must be vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19, AP notes.
  • FFP2s also must now be worn at theaters, cinemas, and sports events, indoors or out, and can’t be removed even for their wearers to eat or drink.
  • Highly vaccinated Italy is now seeing more than 2 million people currently positive for the virus.
  • Countries implementing stricter COVID-related restrictions even though those populations are highly vaccinated raises questions about the vaccine’s efficacy.
OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES:
  • Spain, over 80% of whose population is fully vaccinated, reinstated its outdoor mask rule on Christmas Eve, too.
  • Portugal brought masks back at the end of November, even after having largely dropped the requirement when it hit its goal of vaccinating 86% of the population, AP notes. 92.4% of Portugal’s population has received a Covid-19 vaccine as of Wednesday.
  • Greece has also restored its outdoor mask mandate, while requiring an FFP2 or double surgical mask on public transport and in indoor public spaces. Greece is over 70% vaccinated.
  • The Dutch government’s outbreak management team recommended a mask mandate for people over age 13 in busy public indoor areas such as restaurants, museums, and theaters, and for spectators at indoor sports events, according to AP. The Dutch are over 70% fully vaccinated.
  • In France, the outdoor mask mandate was partially reinstated in December in many cities, including Paris. The age for children to start wearing masks in public places was lowered to 6 from 11. Three-quarters of France’s population are fully vaccinated.
  • 95.6% of Austria’s population has been vaccinated. Nevertheless, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer announced last week that people must wear FFP2 masks outdoors if they can’t keep at least two meters (6.5 feet) apart, notes AP.
  • In Britain this month, the government said secondary school students should wear face coverings in class. Britain is more than 71% fully vaccinated.
BACKGROUND:
  • Unvaccinated Africa is the only world region enjoying a drop in Covid-19 cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • The WHO’s latest report shows a 55% increase (roughly 15 million) in new coronavirus cases globally last week, with only less-vaccinated Africa seeing a drop, according to Newsweek.
  • South Africa, for example, has only “vaccinated about 24.3% of the country’s population,” according to Reuters.
  • World regions with higher vaccination rates also having higher coronavirus infection rates, while regions with lower vaccination rates also have lower coronavirus infection rates, raises questions about the vaccine’s efficacy.