The U.S. has announced a ban on travel by foreign nationals who have been to Brazil in the past 14 days. This adds to bans already in place for the United Kingdom, Europe and China.
According to a statement from the White House,
The potential for undetected transmission of the virus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States from the Federative Republic of Brazil threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security
We know that the existing travel bans were put into place too late to have significant effect limiting the spread of the virus to the U.S. It was already incubating here. Brazil has been a hot spot for some time, though its officially-reported confirmed COVID-19 cases have just reached second most in the world ahead of Russia. On a per capita basis Brazil’s confirmed spread of the virus is about one-third that of the U.S.
Russia has roughly the same number of confirmed cases as Brazil, and more per capita confirmed cases, but no ban has been issued for travelers that have been to Russia. On a per capita basis there are nearly as many cases in Qatar – the virus has seen accelerating spread in several Mideast countries in recent weeks.
Meanwhile with the virus in retreat across much of Europe it’s far less likely someone would bring it from there to the U.S. than vice versa, yet we haven’t seen a relaxing of travel restrictions entering the U.S. from Italy, France or Spain. We’ve also seen accelerating spread in India, Mexico, and Peru.