BERLIN: Susan Tabbach feels exhausted. She has been juggling work and caring for her three young children at home during the confinements, while worrying about her elderly parents who are not vaccinated.
He sees little prospect of relief. “I’m exhausted,” said the 41-year-old architect from Aachen, a German city near the Belgian and Dutch borders. “I would at least like to know that my parents are safe.”
Europeans of all ages, from children to grandparents, are wearing thin in the face of a crisis that is now entering its second year and the end of which seems to recede beyond the horizon. Vaccines are advancing at a glacial pace, Covid-19 cases are on the rise again, and increasingly unpopular governments impose new restrictions on a weekly basis.
The mix of pessimism, resignation and anger is in stark contrast to sentiments of optimism elsewhere in the West, especially the US and UK, where vaccines are moving much faster and attention is directed to reopening the economy. .
Germany is a surprising case of luck change. The country did well in the first phase of the pandemic last year, with authorities drawing praise for keeping infections and deaths low. Now, after four months of largely ineffective lockdowns and a slow and bureaucratic vaccination regimen that has so far not been accelerated, infections are on the rise again and the government is seeing its audience ratings plummet.