So there I was last week in Ostend, Belgium at a 5-day massive rock festival during the throes of Delta.

How, you ask?

It is a major miracle for sure. This is my third W-Fest, and I swore that after its two-year forced hiatus, I wouldn’t miss it, no matter what. And I’m a constant N95 mask-clad, overcautious, people and restaurant-avoiding germaphobe.

But the EU is far different from the U.S. For one, it’s way more vaccinated. The U.S. is currently 53 percent fully vaccinated; EU residents are at 70 percent. And Belgium is over 71 percent to date.

On Sept. 4, the Council of the European Union removed the United States from its safe travel list, as its current rate of coronavirus infections exceeded the EU limit of 75 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the prior 14 days. In fact, according to Bloomberg, the U.S. had 507 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the first two weeks of August.

Europe, however, reported a decrease in cases. Fortunately, I was already there.