US to maintain Europe travel ban as 2021 WSOP looms


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With just over two months to go before the start of the 2021 WSOP, international travel could be a problem, especially after the U.S. government made it clear on Monday that it was not ready to lift a travel ban in Europe linked to a pandemic.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden talk to reporters about the lifting of a 16-month travel ban. (Image: Reuters)

The United States is currently experiencing a peak in COVID-19 cases as nearly half the population is fully vaccinated. Over the past seven days, the country has averaged more than 50,000 daily cases, nearly quadruple the July 4 weekend averages.

Efforts to quell the Delta variant

The total number of cases per day is not the only metric President Joe Biden’s staff are using to assess the situation. One troubling factor, which happens to be the main reason the United States is not ready to lift the ban on travelers from Europe, is that the newer, more contagious and potentially more dangerous Delta variant is in the pipeline. becoming the dominant COVID-19 strain. In Nevada alone, the Delta variant accounts for over 80% of all new COVID-19 cases.

“Given where we are today with the Delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a press conference Monday. “Driven by the Delta variant, cases are increasing in us, especially in those who are not vaccinated and seem to continue to increase in the coming weeks. “

Nationwide, cases have increased 170% in the past two weeks, the death rate is up 19%, and the Delta variant now accounts for 83% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States .

Shortly after taking office in January, Biden set a goal for 70% of the U.S. population to be fully immunized by July. We did not achieve this goal, in part thanks to political propaganda and the spread of anti-vax disinformation. As of last week, only 56% of the country is fully immunized, according to the CDC. In June, an Associated Press analysis found that 99.2% of all COVID-19-related deaths were among the unvaccinated.

The the national outlook has since deteriorated for the unvaccinated, with new cases per day quadruple compared to last month.

Jeff Madsen, a notorious 9/11 veteran who studied film theory in college before becoming a poker pro, uses his Twitter platform with over 18,000 followers to publicize his anti-vax medical opinions .

These are discredited opinions that experts say are hampering efforts to bring the virus under control.

Good news, bad news for the 2021 WSOP

The extension of the travel ban in Europe does not necessarily mean a condemnation for the next WSOP 2021, which is set to begin on September 30 at the Rio in Las Vegas. The Fall World Series of Poker has 88 bracelet events scheduled, including the $ 10,000 Main Event from November 4-23.

From now on, Europeans will find it difficult to make it to the United States in time for the series if they are not already in the country. The current travel ban does not prevent Europeans from entering the United States. Instead, those traveling from Europe (and Canada) must first travel to an unrestricted country for 14 days before flying to the United States.

You may have noticed that some European pros such as Stephen Chidwick, a Briton, have been competing in high rollers in the United States since COVID-19. These players were either in the United States before the start of the pandemic or spent 14 days in an unrestricted country, such as Mexico, before they arrived.

There will undoubtedly be international players at the 2021 WSOP, regardless of the Biden administration’s travel restrictions, and bracelet events could still attract massive fields. At the 2019 WSOP Main Event, 6,110 of the 8,569 entries were Americans, and nearly 80% of the participants were from countries that currently do not face travel restrictions. However, three players who reached the Main Event final table in 2019 came from countries currently affected by travel bans to the United States.

For now, the WSOP is moving forward with plans for a fall series in Nevada, which currently ranks 8th among states with the most cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days. While Las Vegas casinos have reinstated the wearing of masks for employees, regardless of their immunization status, the WSOP is actively recruiting dealers and floor staff, while running online satellites in Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware on WSOP.com. They have a countdown that goes off, reminding us that the expected start is only in 64 days.

But if the latest efforts to quell the burgeoning variant of the Delta coronavirus loses its battle against misinformation and vaccine reluctance, the 2021 WSOP could be a little less mundane than usual.

Written by

Jon sofen

Semi-pro poker player with 17 years of felt experience and over five years as a professional poker media.

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