The World Today for November 15, 2021
NEED TO KNOW
The Vanishing Villages
The bodies of Romanians who perished in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have been placed in black plastic bags and lined up in a hallway in a hospital in Bucharest, the capital of this eastern European country. Hundreds of people die every day in the formerly communist nation, one of the highest rates in the European Union. Only 40 percent of the population is vaccinated. The average vaccination rate in the European Union, in contrast, is 75 percent.
“A village vanishes daily in Romania!” said Catalin Cirstoiu, a doctor who runs Bucharest University Emergency Hospital, during an interview with the Associated Press. “What about in a week or a month? A larger village? Or a city? Where do we stop?”
A Romanian dies of the virus every five minutes, wrote EU Observer. A medical examiner told CNN about an entire family, unvaccinated, who died from Covid-19. He was exhausted, overworked and emotionally traumatized from the procession of suffering he has witnessed over the past 18 months.
The situation in Romania represents a new stage of the pandemic in Europe that started in early 2020, explained Bloomberg. Vaccines allowed many in the wealthier Western European countries to return to a semblance of normal even as they are now suffering from complacency – Germany is witnessing 50,000 cases a day and worrying about hospital capacities again while Austria and the Netherlands are considering lockdowns for the unvaccinated, France24 reported. Meanwhile, in poorer Eastern Europe, anti-vaccination campaigns have undermined efforts to stop the spread.
Romanian anti-vaxxers have been instrumental in slowing vaccination rates, Radio Free Europe wrote. Parliamentarian Diana Sosoaca, a lawyer, is among the most visible critics of vaccination. In an Oct. 27 Facebook post, she lambasted her fellow citizens who received jabs, writing, “You went to the vaccination centers like lambs to the slaughter.”
Meanwhile, the virus has been tearing through unvaccinated elderly folks, reported Reuters. One doctor told the wire service that many older Romanians have religious and cultural beliefs that lead to passivity about Covid-19: They will live as long as they are meant to live regardless of vaccines or other measures, they say. Many also live alone, value their independence and don’t take kindly to interventions.
Bishop Ambrose of Giurgiu of the country’s Orthodox Church recently told believers: “Don’t be fooled by what you see on TV – don’t be scared of Covid…don’t rush to get vaccinated,” the New York Times reported. Authorities opened a criminal investigation into the bishop for disseminating misinformation.
Covid-19 is not the only plague that the world is facing. And, unfortunately, the consequences are deadly.
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