Russia Sees Light at End of Tunnel, United States and Europe Seeking to Lock Back Down as Christmas and New Year Approach

In a clear example of Scott Adams’ concept of “two movies on one screen,” Russian authorities are claiming to see an end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas United States and European authorities are battening down the hatches and warning of a “dark winter.”

The mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, says he sees light at the end of the tunnel vis-à-vis the pandemic. Although Moscow announced a new rule banning large-scale Christmas markets and mass gatherings, bars, restaurants, and cafes will be open for business. Smaller-scale Christmas markets have also sprouted up throughout the city to maintain a sense of holiday cheer.

This appears to strike a balance between being committed to curbing infections while not actively discouraging people from celebrating the holidays. American and European political leaders and scientists, on the other hand, have been more discouraging in their recommendations for how to celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, for instance, has admonished Americans “to do what you’re told” and that you really shouldn’t be seeing much of your family this Christmas. States like California have advised their population to stay home unless they need to work or run “permitted errands.”

And, naturally, a new strain of COVID-19 that’s ostensibly up to 70 percent more infectious than usual has cropped up in the UK just in time for Christmas. London and surrounding areas have imposed a lockdown about as harsh as the one in March, and many countries have imposed or are considering imposing travel bans from the UK.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise seemingly everywhere in the West, though what is complicating the response is the general populace’s unwillingness to endure new rounds of tighter restrictions and that a de facto two-week holiday period has begun. Cases are also rising in places that have adopted differing strategies, poking holes in the notion that tighter restrictions necessarily lead to better outcomes.

With that in mind, the answer this holiday season is not for the state to get more restrictive on religious and familial gatherings. The pandemic has been ongoing for three-quarters of a calendar year. People by and large know how to make smart decisions for themselves and their families.