As if we needed any further reminders that the United States has botched its response to the covid-19 crisis so spectacularly that we present a threat to the health of the global population, member states of the European Union are reportedly weighing whether to include American travelers on its ban list as European borders begin reopening next month.
[Updated: On Friday, E.U. officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed with the Times that the U.S. has made the ban list along with Russia and dozens of other countries deemed too risky to allow visitors from. Officials plan to re-evaluate the list every two weeks, so Americans could possibly be cleared for travel in the coming months in the unlikely case that the nation gets its shit together.]
Citing draft lists currently being considered as well as multiple officials involved with the discussions, the New York Times reported Tuesday that as soon as next week the EU will make an official announcement about advised traveler restrictions over coronavirus and the United States could be grouped in with Russia and Brazil as unwanted in countries hoping to reboot their economies. The E.U. initially banned nonessential travel from outside nations back in March, but a recommendation against permitting American travelers to enter member state’s borders would signal the U.S. as a failure in its attempt to control its own current outbreak.
According to the Times, the E.U. won’t be able to force member states to comply with the final list. But failing to do so could have implications for border closures within the E.U., meaning many members will have plenty of reason to adhere to whatever final recommendation is agreed upon. Purely from a global health perspective, such a move would certainly be unprecedented but not shocking. Thanks to the failure to adequately prepare for the pandemic reaching U.S. borders as well as a race to reopen economies against the recommendation of epidemiologists, our situation right now is, in a word, fucked.
The U.S. to date has more than 2.3 million cases of covid-19, according to the John Hopkins University covid-19 tracker, with more than 120,000 deaths. For months, we have had the highest number of confirmed cases in the world. The second hardest-hit country, Brazil—which, it bears reminding, is also run by an egomaniacal mad man—has reported roughly 1.1 million cases in comparison, but its situation is growing steadily worse, with its health authority reporting nearly 55,000 new cases on Friday.
Meanwhile, the galaxy brain genius leading our charge against the disease recently called for less testing of covid-19 at a rally in Tulsa over the weekend, a ludicrous suggestion that’s been opposed publicly and privately by his leading experts. On Tuesday, Talking Points Memo reported that the federal government will, indeed, begin to stop supporting testing sites later this month.