Covid: a new wave of social division too?

Several countries are once again reacting to surging Covid infections with drastic restrictions. This is exacerbating social tensions between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, as well as between supporters and opponents of new lockdowns. Commentators from Slovenia, Estonia, Slovakia and Spain, which is unusually united on this issue, have their say.

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Denník N (SK) /

Better to swallow justified anger

Slovakia has imposed new restrictions, also on the vaccinated. Denník N can understand their anger at this:

“Of course this is an unpleasant situation for the government. They promised that the vaccine would provide freedom, and many of those vaccinated may well feel cheated. Just two pieces of advice: if you feel the need to be angry at someone, you should be angry at those who are responsible for the pathetic vaccination rate in our country - first and foremost those who spread nonsense about vaccines. But it would be better if you swallowed your anger and behaved as rationally as when you got vaccinated.”

Primorske novice (SI) /

Things cannot go on like this

Primorske novice describes the mixture of rebellion and solidarity that exists in Slovenia:

“The epidemic has revealed an extreme willingness to make sacrifices and extreme selfishness; narrow-minded divisiveness and a readiness to help all who need it; resistance to the 3G rules [vaccinated, tested, recovered] and mutual encouragement to behave safely. Because of the huge burden on hospitals because of Covid patients, other treatments are not available, and a collapse of the system would send cancer patients to their deaths. Doctors and school children are the target of insults and threats. Against this background, we must immediately clarify whether we want open hospitals and open schools with face-to-face teaching.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Social media are the driving force

Eesti Päevaleht explains why it is keeping the comment function on Covid articles locked until at least the end of the year - and why this is just a drop in the ocean:

“This is our response to those who downplay the role of vaccination, mock doctors and scientific approaches, and praise people and organisations who see the vaccine as an unscientific fluid. ... What is being spread via social media is a cause of concern for the whole world, from the US to small states like Estonia. Estonia alone cannot take up the fight with the provocateurs on Facebook or with Facebook as a platform.” (ES) /

Spain united in its faith in science sees a potential link between voting behaviour and Covid in some countries:

“In October, the Covid mortality rate was 25 per 100,000 inhabitants in US counties with the highest percentage of Trump voters compared to 7.8 in more pro-Biden areas. ... This is also happening in certain regions of Europe. In Germany, the far right has embraced the anti-vaccine movement. ... In Spain things are different. 95 percent of adults are in favour of compulsory use of masks indoors, irrespective of their party affiliation: 96 percent among [left-wing] Podemos voters and 95 percent among [far-right] Vox voters. ... Despite all the disinformation, the reality is that the majority of Spain's population continues to be pro-science. And that's the best starting point for protecting ourselves from what's coming this winter.”