Travelers are banned from entering the U.S. if in the prior 14 days they’ve been in China, Iran, the European Schengen area, U.K. and Ireland, Brazil, South Africa or India. That’s true even,
- though the U.S. requires testing of everyone entering by air
- if the traveler has had a full course of an mRNA vaccine
- and is coming from a place with far less Covid-19 than the U.S.
This makes no sense. Americans can go to Europe and they can return – in some cases even if they’re unvaccinated. But vaccinated Europeans can’t fly to the U.S. And this is somehow for our protection?
Vaccinated Americans are no longer recommended to wear masks inside of restaurants or even stadiums, because the risk of infection is so low and the risk of being a carrier and spreading to others is so low. Yet they have to wear a mask and show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to return to their country by air. (If they fly to Mexico and drive across the border that’s ok, even if they have Covid-19.)
And who is being protected? Largely Americans who have chosen not to be vaccinated. And what are they being protected from?
The travel ban doesn’t protect the U.S. from variants. The U.K. travel ban didn’t stop the B.1.1.7 ‘Alpha’ variant. The India travel ban didn’t stop the Indian ‘Delta’ variant. And indeed, the virus mutates independently in similar ways around the world. It mutates here because people aren’t vaccinated and become hosts for the virus and its mutation.
There’s simply no evidence that a ban on travel from these countries has limited Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. And the travel bans have never included countries with arguably similar or much worse experiences with Covid-19 like Peru, Bulgaria, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, or Russia.
Unvaccinated Russians and Argentines are welcomes into the U.S, while vaccinated French who test negative for Covid-19 are not – even as Americans return home from France in droves.
Spread is increasing in the United States, but that just means that foreigners arriving from more places are less likely to carry the virus than the median unvaccinated American – double and triply so for vaccinated foreigners who test negative for Covid-19. U.S. policy here has become a farce. It was one thing when these political, not science-based, policies were being propagated by the Trump administration but the Biden administration is no better. Indeed in some ways they’re worse.