COVID Update: Winter of Discontent


The predictions made in our November 4th forecast have sadly materialised. There has been only limited progress made in countries that have implemented a partial lockdown. This means that unless the vaccine begins widespread distribution (which will not be easy in 2021), we do not forecast an appreciable decline in new cases without a full lockdown. Let’s look at the numbers (all taken from the Worldometers Coronavirus page on 12 December 2020):


Cyprus

In Cyprus, a partial lockdown was announced in Limassol and Paphos for two weeks, during which residents of these districts were not allowed to travel to neighbouring districts; an earlier curfew was in place; restaurants were closed; and other limited measures taken. Crucially, public circulation was not affected and offices and schools were not closed.


The results are what we would predict: the second wave has actually grown even stronger, with the number of new cases per day breaching 400 on several days. Absent a full lockdown (or a widespread vaccine), we do not believe half-measures will work.



Greece

Greece has implemented a near-full lockdown, and the results are clear from the new cases per day chart below. Specifically, the country has once again restricted movement (any movement outside the home is now solely by SMS); movement between districts is not allowed; a curfew is in place; public authorities and companies must only allow essential personnel to work in person: all others must work from home. Crucially, schools and most public transport remains open. Despite these steps, the number of new cases has decline by approximately 50% from their second wave high: we can easily understand why the measures have been extended to 7 January and why this extension will almost certainly be extended still further.


France

The track of daily new cases in France shows much the same trend as in Greece. A severe lockdown, which notably includes a curfew; closing of restaurants; movement by SMS; but also open schools and offices; has resulted in a significant decline from the Second Wave peak. However, the number of new cases per day remain high and will be difficult to reduce as long as public transport, schools and businesses remain open for essential personnel.



Germany

Of all the European cases examined, Germany is perhaps the most surprising. Germany’s Bundeslaender introduced a new lockdown at the beginning of November. But it would appear that these measures have either not been taken seriously, or are fragmented in their implementation from state to state. The number of new cases has, as in Cyprus, actually been rising.