Covid-19 and America’s Border Obsession

In principle, it makes perfect sense for countries to quarantine travellers who may be infected with the coronavirus. Just as with plant and animal diseases, you try to stop them before they can come in.

Spot the logical fallacy when applying this to the US? SARS-CoV-2 is not alien to North America. It’s there. In fact, the US is one of the virus’s favourite playgrounds at present.

Using Worldometers data, you can see that the US ranks 24th in the world for coronavirus infections per million population. The CDC recently called it a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. Between anti-vaxx sentiments, anti-mask ideology and poor healthcare access, Covid-19 is continuing to kill most in the former Confederate states, centred on Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and extending south.

Current active coronavirus cases in the US (source:

Yet national border controls remain in place. Foreigners from 33 countries cannot enter the United States, even with a vaccine and/or a negative coronavirus test.

The US is currently blocking entry to residents of the UK, the EU, India, China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa, even if they can prove they are vaccinated or corona-negative. The countries are India, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the UK and the EU’s Schengen area countries, most with many fewer cases than the United States.

Their residents cannot even transit through major airports like Miami. Meanwhile, the US state of Florida currently has a million active cases. There are an average 340 coronavirus deaths being recorded daily in the state.

Canadians too are blocked from driving across the border into the US. “It’s hard to see how allowing fully vaccinated Canadians to enter the U.S. poses a public health threat when travel within the U.S. is unrestricted,” said the chief executive of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

This doesn’t yet apply to Australia. We are currently No.112 in the world for new coronavirus cases per million population. Lots of the countries with less recorded coronavirus have much worse systems for testing and tracing.

All the same, we are also maintaining border controls to countries with less coronavirus than we have. It’s indicative of an Anglo-American-Australian bias toward thinking that all the scariest and worst problems come from the outside world.

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Feature image courtesy of @barbarazandoval via Unsplash.

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