Will Trump’s Europe Travel Restrictions Work to Control Coronavirus in the United States? Probably not, say experts

In a special Oval Office announcement on Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump took the extraordinary step of temporarily barring foreigners from entering the United States from more than two dozen European countries.

The ruling, which he says will not apply to commerce, US citizens and their families, green card holders and travel from the UK, will last 30 days and is aimed at curbing the increase in new cases in America.

“It’s a global problem and you need a separation in some cases,” Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday. “It’s going to be an impact, but it’s a bigger impact – it’s a human impact, which is bigger, frankly, than a financial one – when you lose thousands of more lives.”

However, health experts have said News week the travel ban is too little, too late. More than 1,500 cases have already been confirmed nationwide, likely rendering the ban on travel from other countries ineffective, experts said.

Here’s what four experts from across the country said the impact of the president’s travel ban would have on stemming the national spread of the coronavirus and what more the federal government and the public can do. Their responses have been condensed for brevity.

President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the worsening coronavirus crisis on March 11 in Washington, DC. President Trump has said the United States will suspend all travel from Europe – except the United Kingdom – for the next 30 days. Since December 2019, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected more than 109,000 people and killed more than 3,800 people in 105 countries.
Photo by Doug Mills-Pool / Getty

Dr Vincent Racaniello, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University

“It is too late for the European ban to make a difference. The virus is already circulating in the United States with little hindrance. Banning travel from Europe is a joke and will have no impact on transmission here Unfortunately, we should have prepared to come back in January, as South Korea did, by increasing hospital capacity and supplies. Today we don’t even have enough masks for health workers. .

Dr William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University

“It will have a very minimal effect, from a public health point of view. This virus is no longer trying to immigrate. It is here and it is moving widely in the United States. Whether a few more are imported from Europe or from anywhere they won “doesn’t make a noticeable difference. It’s a virus that has clearly reached our people and is spreading among American citizens.”

Dr Arthur Reingold, head of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, Berkeley

“An honest answer is that we don’t really know. It could reduce the exposure and risk to people as fewer people are in airports and airplanes. If the idea is more than we don’t want city ​​X come to city Y to protect people here, in theory you can see why this might work. But in general, it’s likely that it will be a leak, and the infection will reach community Y sooner. “possible. On the idea of ​​flattening the spread curve, there might be an advantage to that. I don’t reject it out of hand. But I don’t think it will prevent the introduction of the virus into other cities.” “

Dr Amanda Simanek, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“Will individuals still be able to enter the United States through the United Kingdom or Ireland which was not included in the list of restricted countries?” If so, travel restrictions will not serve to limit the number of people entering the United States from places where the disease burden is currently high. Second, will the screening of people authorized to travel from Europe (i.e. US citizens, green card holders or families of US citizens) be effective? Because individuals can transmit the infection before they become symptomatic, airport screening among these individuals may have limited effectiveness in preventing cases from entering the United States, if individuals are asymptomatic at the time of travel. “

The table below, provided by Statistical, shows the current number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide as of 6 a.m.ET Thursday.

coronavirus, map, country, nations, world, covid-19
A graph provided by Statista shows the global spread of the novel coronavirus at the start of March 12. About half of the 127,000 people affected have recovered, while more than 4,700 have died.

What more can we do?


“We need to drastically limit travel to the United States and people-to-people interactions. Schools, sporting events, theater, all large gatherings need to be closed. At the same time, the administrator needs to provide funds to increase hospital capacity, especially in large cities. “


“The things that we do and try to do – social distancing, which people try to immigrate in their personal and professional lives. Test many more people in the United States as quickly as possible so that we can document where they are. the virus and who the populations it affects. We need to do a lot more testing. It’s still cumbersome and inconvenient. They have a hard time doing it. “


“Organizations that may not have granted paid sick leave before are making this available so that sick people can follow our advice and stay home. It’s not easy for people if they don’t. ‘have no paid sick leave.
Even though we can’t contain the virus, we can at least slow the spread so that the impact on our hospitals is spread over time rather than all happening in one massive spike. “


“Many communities are proactive in closing schools and canceling events and this can be very effective in preventing the spread of infection. These decisions, however, must take into account that not everyone has the opportunity to work at home, and school closures can pose significant challenges for families who may lose their jobs or significant wages by staying home and / or for children who depend on social services provided by schools. ”

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