Austria and Denmark on Monday became the first European countries to announce concrete plans to reopen their societies after coronavirus lockdowns, hoping they may have already weathered the worst of the first wave of the pandemic….In Austria, small shops are slated to reopen April 13, with larger stores to follow on May 1….In Denmark, the plan is for nursery and primary schools to reopen April 13, while companies will resume business gradually.
Both countries say that because they began lockdowns relatively early, they’ve avoided the worst of the pandemic. And that’s true: their per-capita death rate from COVID-19 is fairly low. Still, it’s only been three weeks since their first case and neither country looks like it’s definitively out of the woods:
Austria might be past its peak—though the sample size is too small to say for sure—but there’s certainly nothing in Denmark’s trendline that looks like they’re in any shape to start reopening soon.
Jumping the gun because the public is getting antsy is a blunder. A seductive blunder, but a blunder nonetheless since it opens us up to the possibility of wasting weeks of effort. I sure hope Austria and Denmark know what they’re doing.
JUST TO BE CLEAR: I have no problem with national governments making plans for reopening. They should! I’m just not sure that it’s time to be tossing out dates yet.