German officials announced a nationwide lockdown on Thursday for the unvaccinated and showed support for making vaccinations mandatory against the coronavirus in the coming months.

The restrictions, which are only for the unvaccinated who have not recently recovered from COVID-19, exclude individuals from non-essential stores and activities, including theaters and restaurants, and impose limits on private gatherings with unvaccinated individuals.

The moves come as the latest coronavirus variant of concern, omicron, has sparked worry worldwide of yet another rise in coronavirus cases and as Europe was already in the midst of a surge heading into the winter months. While research remains limited, the World Health Organization has assessed that the variant poses a “very high” global risk. And although nearly 70% of Germany’s population is fully vaccinated, some experts have speculated that the variant may have heightened resistance to current vaccines.

Germany’s circumstance possibly foreshadows conditions to come, with predictions of a winter surge like Europe’s perhaps more likely in other parts of the world with the new variant. In the U.S., cases began to decline after the delta variant dealt a heavy blow to the country this fall, and public health experts are still embracing the current vaccine as the best way to prepare for omicron. The first U.S. case was announced in California on Wednesday, days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday strengthened its recommendation for all adults to receive a booster shot of a coronavirus vaccine.

Vaccinated Americans have been quick to seek out the booster shots. According to Kaiser Family Foundation data, the share of fully vaccinated adults who report receiving a booster shot has more than doubled in the last month, with about a quarter of fully vaccinated adults reporting receiving an extra shot.

Even among the unvaccinated in the U.S., 30% say the emergence of omicron has made them consider getting vaccinated, according to a Morning Consult poll. But unvaccinated adults are also more likely to say that concern over the new variant is overblown.

Germany has seen sometimes-violent demonstrations over virus restrictions, and more would be almost certain if the country mandated vaccines for all. Similarly, heightened political disagreements in the U.S. have made the idea of nationwide lockdowns for the unvaccinated or mandating vaccinations for everyone seem remote. President Joe Biden earlier this week said that the variant is a “cause for concern, not a cause for panic” and that lockdown scenarios shouldn’t be needed if people are vaccinated and wear their masks.

But the president is expected to announce additional steps on Thursday to prepare for the winter months when viruses tend to surge and to assure Americans that the U.S. has the tools to fight the omicron variant while keeping businesses and schools open.

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