From Iceland — The Waiting Game - The COVID-19 Outbreak Calls For Patience

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The Waiting Game – The COVID-19 Outbreak Calls For Patience

The Waiting Game – The COVID-19 Outbreak Calls For Patience

Valur Grettisson
Words by
Photo by
Þórður Hans Baldursson (Postprent's Sottqueen Collection)

Published April 30, 2020

Let’s be honest here: The government and associated specialists have done a fantastic job in this incredibly complicated battle with COVID-19. We have gone from over 100 new cases of the virus in one day, to under ten new cases daily over the course of a few weeks.

The virus’ toll has been terrible nonetheless. Ten have died, and it’s not unlikely that the number will be even higher before the end of the month. It’s still far lower than the current death toll in the United States, which could give one a clue how the government there is doing battling the virus.

It appears that Icelanders are winning at the moment. The government has announced that the current strict social gathering restriction will begin to be loosened on May 4th. School schedules will return to normal and the cap on the number of people who can gather in one place will rise from 20 to 50. It’s not a big change, most companies will still be closed, the travel industry will still be stuck in this nuclear winter. Icelanders can not trust that the heat will keep the virus away, as is the hope in warmer climates. Our summer is like an early spring in most countries, with the temperatures hovering between 10º and 20º Celcius.

So it’s clear that this remains a waiting game. We need to ease the restrictions carefully, if we don’t want that virus to flare up and ravage through the country again. Because that will only mean one thing; we would have to go back to the old rules. Stay at home. Hibernate until health workers contain the virus again. And it will cost more lives. And perhaps our sanity.

I know we are all frustrated. We at the Reykjavík Grapevine are going insane. But we all need to be patient. You can’t rush through a virus unless you are prepared to pay a hefty price. Perhaps the ultimate one. Or worse, you could be responsible for someone else’s death if you’re not careful. No one wants to live with that guilt. I know that this sounds dramatic, but that’s just the state of the world right now. It’s dramatic.

As ever information and advice about Iceland’s COVID-19 outbreak can be accessed on the government’s excellent website.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

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