The Biden Government has delayed the opening of the borders due to the rebound in cases due to the Delta variant
The world is closing in on deniers. The United States plans to require all visitors, with few exceptions, to provide reliable proof of their vaccination in order to enter the country. It is part of the plan to open the borders, one day.
Different media echoed this Thursday of the Government’s plans, which still have no date, because the alarming increase in infections, fueled by the Delta variant and its substrains, which already account for 93% of new cases in the country, has delayed the goal of opening up to the world. However, President Joe Biden has commissioned a task force that connects different government agencies to prepare the structure necessary to meet this requirement.
As of August 16, it will be necessary to show the vaccination card even to enter any bar or restaurant in New York. That is why it makes sense to require it also to enter the country. What it does not have, in the opinion of experts, is maintaining the same border closure that was implemented at the beginning of last year when countries such as China, Spain and Italy were the main global sources of covid-19.
The United States closed its doors to China in January and to the 29 Schengen countries in March. There were some later additions, like Great Britain or Brazil, and just last May, India. The rest of Latin America continues to have its doors open, despite having reached high levels of contagion at different times.
Proof that it is not possible to anticipate where the next strain will come from is that the one that lit the fuse in New York last March came from Europe, when flights from China had been banned two months earlier.
In order not to always fall behind the virus and the latest variant, the most coherent thing is to veto the entire world from the unvaccinated. The plan will be implemented in phases, but the US government has not yet announced which countries will introduce these regulations. Many details remain to be elucidated, in the absence of an international vaccination passport that can be read at any border.
Still, the country will have to first solve domestic tourism in a territory larger than Europe. Florida, for example, registers 20% of all new cases this week, but its Governor Ron DeSantis, a follower of Donald Trump, blames them on illegal immigrants. The option to seal the borders even more, which is what DeSantis calls for when Biden urges him to require masks, would open the way were it not for the money that tourism brings.
A city like New York, which received 65 million tourists annually before the pandemic, barely expects to receive 36 this year. And that already represents 6% more hotel rooms last year, although it only reaches 35% occupancy. About 200 of the city’s 700 hotels are closed, some permanently. That has forced the city council to launch a $ 35 million tourism marketing campaign to relaunch an industry that employed 400,000 people and injected $ 70 billion into the local economy. If for that it is necessary to vaccinate them all, so be it.
Currently, Europeans who want to enter the United States have to spend two weeks in quarantine in a country outside the United Kingdom, the EU and other countries on the COVID-19 blacklist. In return, they find cheaper hotels and shorter lines to enter the museums, which have reopened with limited capacity. The pandemic that has separated families and has expatriates sick with homesickness will still leave many tears until the world goes global again.