As expected, The European Union (EU), which represents 14 countries, voted to restrict visitors from countries that have failed to take steps to curtail their rapidly rising caseloads of the coronavirus. I cannot blame the EU for taking these precautionary measures but it still stings. Everyone is painfully aware of the impact the coronavirus has had here and around the world. Who could forget the New York Times front page in May when they published some of the 100,000 names of Americans who had died from the coronavirus?
Even those who ignore the science and disregard the safety precautions laid out by the CDC admit that the economic toll the virus has had is unprecedented. While most of the impact was initially felt in the Northeast, in recent weeks rising numbers in states like Arizona, Florida and Texas have forced many Republican Governors who were eager to reopen to rethink their policies. It is precisely these rising numbers that led the EU to include the US in its travel ban.
This decision could not have been easy for the EU to make. Like the US, their economy is teetering on the brink of recession. I would imagine the money US business travelers and tourists spend is significant. Barring visitors from the US will likely impact many small businesses and in particular the hospitality and service industries. It is (however) a testament to how serious the EU is when it comes to protecting their people. I hope the actions of the EU serves as a wake-up call for the White House and those in power in Congress who (to date) have preferred to politicize public health and the guidance from our medical leaders rather than show leadership and take public health more seriously.