(Zerohedge) – Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com,

For a few months a lot of people were convinced that humanity’s efforts to defeat COVID were being successful, and many believed that the pandemic would soon be behind us for good. But now the “Delta variant” is spreading like wildfire all over the globe, and this is prompting national governments around the world to institute a new wave of restrictions and lockdowns. Needless to say, the restrictions and lockdowns that we witnessed in 2020 were absolutely devastating for the global economy, and many areas of the planet remain economically depressed as a result. As the “Delta variant” continues to spread, will this new wave of restrictions and lockdowns push the world economy into another major downturn during the second half of 2021?

I am extremely concerned about how some national governments are choosing to respond to this new variant. In particular, I think that officials in Australia have gone completely nuts. Now that a third state has implemented new restrictions, more than half of the country is currently under lockdown…

More than half of Australia’s 25 million people were under lockdown on Tuesday after a third state adopted movement curbs to rein in the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus.

Australia’s infections and deaths are well below other developed nations, but its use of lockdowns, prompted by a sluggish vaccination campaign, is putting pressure on the national government, with polls at their lowest in a year and just months before elections are due to be held.

Once upon a time, I used to recommend Australia as a potential relocation destination.

But I don’t think that I will ever be able to recommend Australia again after what we have witnessed during this pandemic.

Things have gotten really crazy in Japan as well. Because they are hosting the Olympics, officials have instituted extremely strict restrictions, and this is definitely rubbing a lot of people the wrong way.

Savannah Guthrie is in Japan right now, and she says that it is like “stepping back in time” …

“They have very strict protocols here,” Savannah said. “In a way it’s like stepping back in time. At least for those of us in (the United States), at the height of the pandemic, we remember the washing of the hands, the mask-wearing, all of that. It’s just like that here. It’s really locked down here in Tokyo.”

I don’t usually use the word “paranoia” very much, but in this case I believe that it is justified.

Those that are traveling to Japan for the Olympics are being forced to be tested for COVID over and over again …

Savannah said that the protocols began before she even left the United States. International visitors to Japan have to take two coronavirus tests before they get on a plane. The first has to be taken about 96 hours before travel, the second 72 hours before.

After landing in Tokyo, visitors have to test again at the airport, and then take a daily test for the first three days in the country.

But even with such dramatic restrictions, the “Delta variant” just continues to spread, and the head of the Tokyo games is openly admitting that he is “prepared to discuss a last-minute cancellation” of the Olympics…

As Games-linked Covid cases continue to rise in a city rising in indignation at the Olympics taking place, Tokyo 2020 chief Toshiro Muto said he was prepared to discuss a last-minute cancellation.

Isn’t that insane?

According to Muto, officials are watching the number of new cases in Japan very carefully …

“We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases.

“We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again.

“At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.”

Over in France, the implementation of new “health pass” rules is creating a giant uproar…

From July 21st, health passes are required to enter public cultural and leisure venues that welcome 50 people or more. This applies to venues such as theatres, cinemas, libraries, theme parks, concert halls, festivals, museums and monuments, and takes effect ahead of a wider extension of the health pass rules from August 1st.

From now on, those that have not been vaccinated will be relegated to second class status in France, but the truth is that “fully vaccinated” people are catching the “Delta variant” too.

In fact, a “fully vaccinated” White House official and a “fully vaccinated” aide to Nancy Pelosi both just tested positive for COVID .

The “Delta variant” is taking the U.S. by storm, and Los Angeles County has become one of the epicenters of this new outbreak…

Los Angeles County is now recording more than 10,000 coronavirus cases a week – a pace not seen since March – an alarming sign of the dangers the Delta variant poses to people who have not been vaccinated and heightening pressure on health officials to reverse the trend.

A Los Angeles Times data analysis found L.A. County was recording 101 weekly coronavirus cases for every 100,000 residents, up from 12 for the seven-day period that ended June 15. That means the county has surpassed the threshold to have “high” community transmission of the disease, the worst tier as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mask mandates are back, and that certainly will not help the California economy, but what many small business owners are deathly afraid of is another long-term lockdown …

“In general, nobody likes wearing masks – I don’t know anyone that cheers having to wear one – but if the choice is another 15 months of shutdown or wearing a mask inside, then I will be happy to wear a mask,” said Cache Bouren, owner of Haberdasher in San Jose.

“Facing the idea of another six to eight months without any real revenue coming [is] a very scary thing,” admitted Bouren, who is set to open up a new bar called Cash Only soon.

In 2020, countless small businesses in the United States shut their doors on a permanent basis, and countless others barely survived.

In fact, one recent survey found that approximately 20 percent of all the small businesses that actually survived “came frighteningly close” to shutting down for good…

One in five small business owners came frighteningly close to shuttering their business for good during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new survey polled 1,000 small business executives to analyze the impact the pandemic had on their businesses and how they’re planning to recover moving forward.

Three in four respondents agree the past year was the hardest they’ve ever had in business. Those challenges include dealing with decreased sales (46%), fewer customers (42%), and lower production (37%). Two in five small business executives had to take a pay cut to keep their companies afloat during COVID. Other areas bosses cut down on in 2020 include the cost of supplies (40%) and marketing budgets (37%).

We simply cannot afford another round of lockdowns here in the United States.

And the same thing is true for countries all over the globe that have previously experienced lockdowns.

But as the “Delta variant” continues to spread, it appears to be inevitable that more new lockdowns will continue to be rolled out.

Is this going to be the answer every time a new health crisis erupts? Because I believe that we have now entered an “era of pestilences” , and I also believe that the health threats that are ahead of us are going to be far worse than what we have already been through.

The world economy was just getting back to some semblance of “normalcy”, and now things are starting to get completely nuts again.

This pandemic is like a nightmare that never seems to end, and the way that officials have reacted all over the world has just made things even worse.

www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/what-will-new-wave-lockdowns-do-global-economy