Putting the awful death tolls and sacrifices aside, one of the hardest pills for people to swallow during the global pandemic has been being disconnected from family, friends and loved ones around the world. Borders have been closed, countries isolated and people too. It’s been hard, but many would say it’s been essential in these new and uncertain times.

I’m an American currently in the UK, but my family is back in the USA. With the Monty Python troop leading the UK into one joke policy after another, there’s plenty to complain about here in terms of travel restrictions, but for a change, it’s mostly good news on the covid-19 front itself, and that’s good news for future travel opportunity.

The country has dropped rates of infection dramatically and is now heading toward even more phased reopening, catching up with the rest of Europe, which mostly opened restaurants, cafes and attractions over a week ago, and borders too.

Which brings me to the United States of America, where things were perhaps oh so close, but…

Final word remains to be heard, but rumors are strong that travelers from the United States will be excluded from many areas of the world longer than planned, be it weeks, months or years, due to ongoing rates of infection in the country. Since there are no border controls from state to state, it’s not just as simple as creating eligible ports of departure.

Basically, for the purpose of reopening travel between two countries, it’s not so much about how hard an area was hit at its peak, but about where they are now and what they’ve done to stop it. Like Italy – hard hit at the start, drastic measures to bring society back safely, now welcome in many places.

How hard a country was hit may play some part, but if efforts are seen as strong enough to ensure future safety and mitigate travel risks and secondary spikes, countries are making it happen, together. Travel doesn’t have to be any more dangerous than anything locally, and in many ways it’s actually safer. Airlines require masks, planes have HEPA filters and screenings are done. It’s more than you can say for many areas on the ground.

With few exceptions, areas of the United States, the majority of which are now in the Midwest, West and South  aren’t taking the virus, nor precautions to limit transmission seriously – at all. In fact, many appear to rejoice in being the free spirit which has little regard for the health of others. This doesn’t seem far short of manslaughter, like driving through a city under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Many of these new covid-19 hot spots aren’t traditionally first ports of entry into the United States, which is why many avoided early cases and chose to not give an eff. But now, with cases surging, people still refuse to do their part and it’s utterly shameful. It’s not a big ask.

No one wants to wear a mask, no one enjoys the sensation, but its abundantly clear how important masks and distancing are to put this awful movie re-run known as covid-19 behind us.

Many are choosing to favor their “liberty” not to wear a mask, which really is little more than a hindrance, over the common sense of wearing a mask to reduce infection rates, particularly as Governors refuse to mandate social distancing, masks or anything else on a legal level. In areas where social distancing has been embraced and masks worn in confined spaces, things are almost all extremely positive right now.

Europe and Asia are perfect examples, as are many US states.

Don’t even try to say masks don’t help – they do – and only idiots believe they don’t. Oh, you read something from the CDC like 3 months ago that said they don’t – yeah – that was 3 months ago. Masks may not be 100% effective, but nothing is and every effort to mitigate is an effort to prevent loss of life. It’s all fun and games until you watch someone you know suffer.

During covid-19, the world is even more beautiful from above.

For those keen to get businesses reopen and commerce flowing again, I hear you. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and suffering people are feeling financially, let alone in actual health. But recovery will only sustainably happen when the virus has crept into the history books, and not when active transmissions are rising.

Basically, by being a d**khead and partying like it’s 2019, refusing to wear a mask and ignoring distancing, you’re just prolonging your own peril, and that of others, while also keeping people from being connected. Even a local business often needs something from another country as part of the supply chain.

Pretending that taking a stand and not wearing a mask is somehow more effective for the economy than just doing your part for a few more weeks, or months is incredibly stupid and there’s no polite way around that.

As Forrest Gump says: Stupid is, as stupid does.

These selfish people are now the very people dictating US foreign policy, at least when it comes to where Americans can travel. That’s absurd. All thinking people benefit from easier access to people and things around the world, and until the US gets a grip on the issue, those originating from the USA will be persona non grata in most of it. Birthdays will be missed, funerals too, all because some selfish people refuse to get a grip.

This is upsetting on many levels, not just because of the sacrifices many millions of Americans made by closing their businesses and embracing safety measures, such as masks and social distancing. More than one hundred thousand Americans died from this, and the big ask is just to wear a mask in enclosed public spaces and try to stand a few feet away from people outside your household at all times. What’s so hard?

No one’s asking someone to march off to war, to fight against mankind, they’re just asking you to watch Netflix, be sensible with spacing and do these few little things which will make a huge impact. Still, people refuse, and it’s costing Americans the invaluable experience of travel abroad. I want to have my parents join me in a destination they’ve longed to return to for decades, and that’s seriously in jeopardy.

Most businesses can and should reopen at some point in the near future, simply by embracing and rethinking the way they work. Restaurants around the world are already open and finding ways, even in countries which were just a few weeks ahead of the US in terms of initial peaks, so there’s no reason why the sheer ingenuity of the American people can’t do even better, with a little brain power.

When cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle began to overcome their worst peaks thanks to sensible measures, like barring anyone from entering a business if they refuse to wear a facial covering and enforced social distancing, Europe, Asia and the rest of the world started working on timelines to welcome back American visitors.

This is important for all, since Americans are typically great travelers who spend significantly abroad, and foreign visitors contribute billions upon billions annually to the US economy.

But as cases continue to spike and rise in the USA in recent weeks, and footage emerges of complete anarchy with people hosting raging dance parties and packing into bars like alcohol is going out of style, it’s putting the odds of free travel off. All the while, the United States remains closed to many outsiders.

It never has, and never will make sense to keep borders closed to populations with lower rates of infection, particularly those with better access to healthcare than the country they’re hoping to visit. Basically, when you’re the sick person of the world, you can only hope others would ever come back and visit.

For many Americans, particularly those living in areas of rising infection rates, getting on a plane anywhere else seems like the smartest move one could make right now. It’s just a shame there aren’t many places one can go…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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87 Comments

  1. Why not just say the name of the 285 pound gorilla in the room – TRUMP? If the leader of our country led by example and, more, did not politicize the wearing of masks and testing, how many lives could be saved (not to mention that the damage lessening the damage to our economy)?

  2. Great Article. I am preparing to fly Thursday from the South up to the Midwest. I expect I will see stupid selfish most male idiots who flout their idiocy . To my mind, a maskless passenger is essentially no different from a terrorist with a pistol on a plane: He is a definitive threat to my health. I have been astonished that the Airlines took so long to enforce a mask rule. It is the one place beside an elevator where we encapsulated in an enclosed space. Thank you for your article

    1. So, would you get on a plane that you knew would have a terrorist with a pistol on it? If there is no difference in your mind between that and someone not wearing a mask on your flight… then aren’t you the idiot for getting on said dangerous flight?!?!?

  3. Hyperbole much? Crap on your readers’ intelligence much? Numbers of positive tests are skyrocketing, but the death rates and hospitalizations continue to fall (since April). The majority of the positive test results in Florida and Georgia these past 2 weeks were asymptomatic and only went to get tested sure to contact tracing. It’s really easy to write drivel like this when your business and livelihood don’t depend on it.

      1. How about you wear a mask and I will do whatever I choose. My ancestors fought and died for my freedom, and I’m sure not going to let you or anyone else take it away now.

        1. My ancestors fought and died for a free and safe country. One built on equality and liberty, and to emancipate humanity from evil. I don’t think granddad would think the right to NOT wear masks is what he fought for..or the selfish attitude of people who think everything they are opposed to is a violation of their rights.

        2. Spoken like a true red blooded dumbass! You’re everything that’s wrong with America and the world today, you and your selfish ass bullshit opinions! When has having rights ever meant it’s ok to put others lives in danger just to exercise them? Stupid dumbass!!!

          1. My comments are directed at all the stupid selfish people, mainly trump supporters, that refuse to wear a mask and socially distance! Not at intelligent minded people that do! Just wanted to make that clear!

        3. My comments are directed directly at people like you, you selfish trump supporting dumbass! You’re what’s wrong with America today! Selfish irresponsible dumbass!!!

    1. Hospitalizations in areas largely spared back in March are now breaking records every day. Here in my part of TX, a week ago we had more Covid hospitalizations than any point before that. Now we have more than twice as many as we did a week ago. Deaths haven’t been trending as badly, but it seems likely that’s only a matter of time as people who view themselves as at low-risk act like they’re intent on spreading it around which means many of them will eventually take it home to someone who is at higher risk. Testing has been basically flat.

  4. I’m not trying to be unkind here, but, this is the sort of xenophobia that the world really needs less of, not more.

    Three key logical errors:

    1) Cases are going up
    Yes, of course they are. It’s a cumulative sum…. this is math.
    You won’t ever see the total number of people who had Covid-19 go down.

    There are likely 60Trillion cases of the flu, and it goes up every day.
    Total cases can never go down.

    Trying to scare people with ‘cases are surging’ is just really lazy journalism.

    2) Fatalaity rate is estimated to be only .3% (by the CDC)

    That means: ~99.7% who get it… survive!
    The flu is 99.87% survival rate.

    99.7%… that’s an *extremely* high number for anything.
    If you’re healthy, under 50, without co-morbididites, it approaches 100% survival rate.

    Should anyone be really scared of something that is 99.7%-100% survivable?
    Nope

    Not only do we understand treatment a LOT better, but testing is everywhere (I got tested yesterday), takes 10 minutes and is often free.
    The survival rate is sky high for this.

    Everyone with a brain has seen through the smoke screen.
    It’s not a particularly deadly virus, no one cares anymore about the fear mongering.

    3) 7 day average daily death rate is down 73% in the USA.
    Do you think they are going to magically go up ~300% to get back to where they were?
    Lol


    Listen, the data is in. The facts are in.
    SCIENCE shows the truth now. Not media fear mongering.

    You, and the media, have continued to sell some story to get clicks and all that.
    We’re over it.

    It’s 2-3x as deadly as the flu.
    35,000,000 people have died in the world in the last 7 months.
    35Million

    450,000 of those with Covid-19
    And you’re talking about a virus instead of the other 34.5Million.

    This garbage clickbait, science denying story telling has to stop.

    1. How is telling people to wear a mask and socially distance “science denying”. Science shows that cultures which have taken this hit, temporarily, have mostly put this (as you admit) DEADLY virus behind us. Yes, flu kills, yes, other things kill, but this is a rare chance where not being a dick can keep people from dying. It’s not asking for someone to stop living their life, or march off to war, but rather to just be kind to others.

      How is this so hard? Just wear the f**king mask, or keep your distance from people for a few more months, and we might put this behind us. Don’t, we see Spanish flu all over again where wave II is worse than wave I, then we can see how utterly effed this economy gets.

      1. I think the problem you’re getting is many readers of these types of blogs tend to be those that do their best to get a leg-up on other people. (Think: Brian Kelley)

        I agree with everything you’ve wrote in this post, but you’re going to keep getting people like this guy who seriously don’t get it.

        As a scientist who works on COVID projects I’ll take a stab at this for ya.

        Re: his #1

        *daily* cases are going up as well. that was the point of the statement made in the article. That is bad.

        #2:
        If the fatality rate of anything I do is .3% that’s terrible. I’d only have to drive to work and back for ~2 years and I’d be estimated to die in a car crash over any other form of death. That’s bad

        #3 Yes, the death rate is down. Sadly, people are still dying. Death=bad.

        Science does show the truth. Coronavirus can kill people. Coronavirus IS killing people. EVERYONE can choose stop the spread of this deadly disease. Anyone who chooses not to take basic precautions is assisting a deadly disease to propagate to others. That is bad.

    2. It’s not just cumulative numbers that are going up, the daily/weekly/rolling 14 day case counts are also going up. Several states are breaking daily records for cases…several countries are in the same position. Certainly this is also due to increased testing, but a better sign that we’re getting things under control would be diminishing numbers WHILE having increasing numbers of people getting tested, no? And this is all to say that we trust that the figures being reported are accurate, and there are certainly many reasons for countries to mis/under report.

      Also, disease is not just about life and death. There are many people who suffer permanent injuries or permanent changes to their quality of life. People who are hospitalized with covid and then recover often have permanent, negative issues. Here’s just one source about this, one can search online for any number of others – https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/survivors-severe-covid-19-beating-virus-just-beginning.

      My last point will be that covid has already killed nearly half a million people even thought pretty much the whole world has been quarantined for at least a couple of months. A global shutdown hasn’t happened because of the flu in recent history. I hope that we will continue to practice increased hygiene measures from here on out, as they would be helpful for prevention and reduction of illness and death from other respiratory diseases, too.

  5. Thank you. And just a reminder to the commenter, asymptotic Covid people infect others who may not be so lucky as to themselves be asymptotic.

  6. Thanks for writing this – I’m very frustrated with the idiots who insist that their personal comfort is more important than everyone else’s life. And, of course, the people with their fallacious arguments about how it’s not that deadly. Just because you don’t die doesn’t mean that you aren’t hospitalized for weeks (taking up a bed that someone else may desperately need) or left with a permanently crippled respiratory system (and there are a lot of those right now). I only wish the people saying that they don’t care about getting COVID would also be banned from the hospitals when they contract it- sadly, they are happy to benefit from society when they need to, and happy to deny others the benefits when they feel limited.

  7. First off, Tom can go fuck himself. This isn’t the freedom our forefathers fought for. Oh, and if you are not a white property owning member of the gentry, you can STFU again because they weren’t fighting for you. They care zero about your welfare.

    In the part of the US I live, people around me don’t believe in anything until they experience it for themselves. This isn’t a new phenomena ushered in by COVID. A lot of people will need to get it and die for the seriousness of the issue to sink in. Bring it on – at least it will make the freeways easier to get around.

    Sorry for the rant – but this BS that I have the freedom to be healthy or not be healthy being paraded around under the guise of “I ain’t gonna let the man tell me what to do” is just stupid.

  8. Gilbert I completely agree with you. American arrogance is at an all time high and we are now a laughing stock. It saddens me. Now more than ever I do wish I’d live somewhere else.

    It really shouldn’t have been this bad. We’ve enjoyed going basically anywhere we wanted to, but that is such under a threat now. Instead of being the envy of the world, we are now the pity.

    People like George who replied here seem to be convinced only if they contract the virus or someone they care for passes from it. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, even the deniers like him. But sadly, that appears to be the only way of demonstrating to those deniers who serious this can be.

    Keep up the good work Gilbert. And stay safe.

  9. Just who is being selfish here?

    I really really want to engage in international travel as I have in the past. I would need for several hundreds of millions of people who have no interest in going more than 50 miles from home put going to Applebees aside for a few months to make that possible.

    There are lots of great reasons to put a lid on infections, but I cannot bring myself to tell anyone that they have to give up Applebees and TGI Fridays so that I can be cleared to go to Angkor Wat.

    Its as elitist AF.

      1. You don’t get out of your bubble much, do you?

        Not everyone wants to go terribly far afield and a Saturday night dinner at Ruby Tuesdays in the next county over is excitement enough for them. There are reasons to encourage them to take public health seriously. But if you think I am going to criticize them for interfering with my ability to get some sick insta shots in Bhutan, you are crazy.

        1. I thought you would be referring to all the protesters. It’s interesting how all these leftist governors were banning any and all activity, even church service…but leftist/anarchist protests? Oh yeah we’re onboard with that! But protests against the lockdowns, or that one guy protesting PP in SF that got arrested? Boo hiss, you selfish evil right wing white supremacists!

          Be consistent at least in your condemnation. We in the US have freedoms, for better or worse. No virus, president or governor can unilaterally take them away without first declaring martial law. Is that what you suggest should have happened? Then of course your failed little anarchist experiment chop/Chaz never would have happened.

          As we learn more about this virus, it’s clear that we all control our own risk level, so the finger pointing is unnecessary. If others want to take risks then that’s their problem, as long as you take precautions you will not be impacted.

  10. @ H Wintston mostly male? How is that relevant? Would it be ok to beat up on someone because of their sex/gender/race for some other situation? No, so why do it here? Probably because you’re a native, simpleton groupthinker.

  11. George probably said it best. We made the stupid mistake of locking everyone down instead of focusing our efforts on the actually risk groups so now you have all these young people who were never able to build up their immunities over the past months and they will spread it now. As far as the idea of people being ‘selfish’ – imagine the biggest eye roll you can. How about this – take care of your self. If you’re in a high risk group be safe. If the fact that someone else not wearing a mask is what got you sick – you are the one who is responsible for not taking proper precautions (if you were in the demographic that is actually at risk of death or hospitalization). Love to see that Trump was already mentioned – goes to show you that this is nothing more than politics now. If you’re a democrat you’re going to keep the fear rising to make it look like this is all being mismanaged and somehow Trump is responsible for everything (even though states/counties all took their own actions). Everyone remember all the mass protests across the country a few weeks ago? Where are all the hospitals filling up and people dropping dead in the streets from not distancing? It’s been long enough. People should worry about themselves, not what their neighbor is doing.

    1. I accept that people of greater risks must take greater precaution. It’s not fair, but it’s real.

      I think there’s fair debate about whether lockdowns, or the magnitudes to which they went were entirely necessary. See: Japan.

      But in all of these outcomes, those countries who have made it mostly to the other side embraced distancing, hygiene and face coverings.

      I just don’t see how its so hard not to care about preventing one unnecessary loss of life? It’s why people in many societies have worn masks for years. If they even think they’re not well, they cover their areas which may spread infection, or stay home. Why can’t people just embrace decency?

      The best case is that the virus loses its ability to kill, and that simultaneously we develop ways to mitigate risks, until then – why not not be a selfish person?

      1. It’s like rationing food. One person keeps gorging themselves on the limited supply at the expense of everyone else, which will eventually effect the whole group. Some people just don’t get it, and there’s really not much we can do as they are too polarized by “politics” to understand that this is literally survival, not some war between the impeached president and everyone else.

      2. People in Asia wore masks for self protection and for pollution before all of this, it is not for an altruistic purpose. It’s clear that you ascribe noble intentions to all actions by people outside of the US, but demonize any actions taken in the US. The typical self hating liberal American, how novel.

          1. Go easy on him. The deniers are at least as afraid as everyone else but they need a coping mechanism so they try to convince themselves that they’re not scared and that attacking anyone who disagrees with them by using facts is just a way to reinforce their delusion. Then they try to muddy the water by tossing out childish insults in a cheap attempt to make this political. It’s pretty pathetic when you think about it but they find it easier than facing the truth. Don’t hate them, pity them.

  12. Nice to read this on your blog but in certain other quarters one gets tossed out of a group for saying the same thing…with no right of appeal. The US nonchalance will affect many of us and nobody should be circumventing directives by travelling from one C-19 hot spot country to another for no purpose other than seeing if they can do it by taking advantage of dual passports. I see the same story with Brits demanding unfettered access to the continent while still having the highest levels of ongoing C-19 in their country. Just because one can now get medical travel insurance for the virus, doesn’t abrogate one’s responsibility to not be an asymptotic carrier/spreader. It’s no coincidence Nevada is now spiking two weeks after reopening its casinos…C-19 either brought in by visitors or taken from Nevada to other locations as they head home.

    Responsibly is a two-way affair and I sense too many travelers are being just as irresponsible by taking trips now from C-19 high countries.

    You can now delete this post and throw me off your blog too.

  13. Gilbert, I agree with you 100%. Just the other day I was talking to a low level politician who meets with our congressman regularly. He says Americans should not expect to travel internationally until the end of 2020 or early 2021. That’s because other countries are too afraid to let Americans in due to our cavalier attitude to Covid-19. As per George’s comments, they don’t make sense. This year more people will die of heart disease and diabetes than Covid-19. But if you have heart disease and are sitting next to me on a plane, you can’t give it to me. Covide-19 spreads much more easily than the flu. and yes, it’s true most people won’t die of it but take it from me, it’s a bitch while you have it. I was afraid to go to sleep at night for fear I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. I’ve recovered now and if all I and others have to do is wear a mask to ensure that our loved ones, neighbors, and even strangers don’t get this nasty disease it’s a small price to pay to do your small bit to help humanity.

  14. Stick to travel and PLEASE lay off the political views.

    Enjoyed your blog but this BS is why I likely will drop it. Not getting into every reason this is a simplistic view of a very complicated situation (BTW I do wear a mask and distance). Also US death rates (most valid statistic) are trending down.

    Your views only play to the echo chamber here that has an agenda. Get off the damn soapbox and, again, stick to travel. Hopefully your blog survives but sad you have to invent clickbait articles to stay alive – SMDH!!!

  15. I do agree that everyone should just wear a mask. It’s easy, inexpensive and it does help. The spiking cases? Well, they are mostly asymptomatic people because they are healthy. We locked them all down for 3 months when they should have been out getting the virus and building immunity while the ‘at risk’ population was locked down. No wonder we’re seeing spikes now without increases in hospitalizations and death. Everyone who keeps pointing to the increasing number of new cases is really ignoring the underlying data and facts to spread their own paranoia and fear (which is the selfish thing). If you’re afraid to go out – how about this – don’t go out. As I understand it, obesity is one of the highest risk factors. If I can be accused of being ‘selfish’ for not wearing a mask or distancing, can the obese person who is putting themselves at risk also selfish for not going on a diet and living a healthier life (no arguments that everyone who is obese can’t help it because of a gland problem. Americans are fat by choice and out themselves at risk).

  16. For those who choose to not wear a mask, the private property owners like airlines, stores, and so on, have the right to NOT serve you. So when you yell about freedoms, you have the freedom to go where you are welcome, and not the freedom to go where you are not welcome.

  17. “Give me liberty, or give me death!” In this scenario it may not be an either/or situation. Problem is, your cry for “liberty” can causes another’s death. Thanks Gilbert, maybe, just maybe, you might encourage some folks who are considering whether to don a mask or not to actually do so.

  18. It’s funny that when you’re on the outside looking in, you’re able to get a greater sense of what’s happening on the ground in the USA. I’m of the opinion that the US has a toxic problem thats spiralling out of control and it all comes back to two simple words – “my rights”. Everything and anything that doesn’t fit somebodies narrative is just immediately countered with these two idiotic words. I don’t think many people really understand what they mean anymore, its just become an excuse.

    The other day, an interviewer at the Trump rally asked an attendee for their view on the risks of infection at the event and basically just said that “the beautiful thing about America is that it’s my right to catch COVID”. It really is a hideously stupid thought process. Especially when others could be infected and die just because it was this women ‘right’ to catch it.

    Open your eyes America, no one is impeding your rights or freedoms, you’re just being encouraged to put a bit of fabric other your nose and mouth and not stand to close to people for a few months so that this can be over in the shortest possible time. I’ve been doing it for since March and I can assure you, I’m still free, I still have my ‘rights’ and most importantly, thus far, I’m COVID free. Wake up and smell the coffee (which you can still do through your mask)!

    I think many peoples ancestors who genuinely fought for freedoms and rights would be ashamed to see people use such liberties so brazenly and so arrogantly today.

    1. Does this apply to all the left wing protesters, of which there are many more of? How with a straight face do you call out those on the right for fighting the restrictions, and not those on the left just ignoring the restrictions?

      1. No one is exempt from my statement; left, right or whatever. The Trump rally quote is just one that struck me as the most ignorant I’ve heard to date. COVID-19 doesn’t know party lines, its requires a unified response. Yet in the US you have 50 states tackling the issue in 50 different ways whilst at the same time, a good number of the population is ignoring the various responses out of stubbornness and a culture of “it’s my right”.

        You’re setting yourselves up to fail or at the very least, for prolonged agony and suffering. It doesn’t have to be this way.

        And if you want me to equalise my first statement, the protests could have waited. I understand the urgency of them but again, it’s just setting yourself up to fail if any spike in COVID can be linked back to the demonstrations and thus, the whole point of it collapses when people who get behind the movement, now feel anger and resentment towards it.

  19. “My ancestors fought for my freedom”

    L O L

    Your ancestors must be ashamed of such dumbness. They must think: “So I fought so hard to create such a dumb piece of life.”
    It is THAT sad lol

  20. Wow. 30 responses already?

    We live in capitalist society where it’s everyone for themselves. People might pretend they care about you but they don’t. The only selfishness here is that people that are supposed to die are taking their own sweet time. Just get the virus and die already so others can move on. Selfish pricks.

    How much money have we wasted trying to find a cure for HIV? If we had just shot dead everyone with HIV the disease would have gone away already by now.

    I think the best option now is to force everyone to inhale the virus and then lockdown for a month. Many will die, the rest still be immune and we can open up completely and immediately.

    1. Ha, sometimes I’m quite entertained by your dark sarcasm that isn’t really sarcasm.

      It is true, we live in a capitalistic society. Those who don’t want to follow an airline’s rules to wear a mask can choose to take their biz to another one without such a requirement. I support people freely moving to whatever city/country that better supports their vision of what their rights should be. I also encourage such people to fly together on Cov(stup)id Air, pack up the bars together, trample each other in a discount store, etc.

  21. This is pompous clickbait garbage that’s a dogwhistle for any America haters. Cumulative cases are going to always go UP. And, there was always going to be a rise once lockdowns ended, because “flattening the curve” is basically a dumb strategy. Allow me to explain: by flattening the curve, you greatly prolong the epidemic. Not only that, you actually end up with MORE cases of the virus overall, but over a much longer time period. The stated reason for “lockdowns” was to flatten the curve, so as not to overwhelm hospitals. However, this threshold was never even approached in the USA. Anyhow, now that areas are reopening (by necessity) you are seeing more cases. However, the death rates (which were already exaggerated by the media) have been continuing to drop. Don’t confuse that with the “death toll”, which will never drop because: 1+1=2, 2+2=4, etc.

    Anyhow, save the hyperbole. Personally, I am tired of it. This isn’t Ebola and most people who get it (99%) will survive. And a large percentage never even realize they had it.

    1. Craig my response does come with the customary BS.

      “Our hearts are heavy due to this heavy loss and tragic deaths of our dear neighbors and colleagues. They will not have died in vain, we wil rededicate our lives in their memory and…… .”

      You get the idea? Hitler was never good at that kind of crap.

  22. The “KarensGoneWild” channels on social media, and other similar Karen (and Ken) channels, have been “the gift that keeps on giving” on this topic (with most seeming to portray those refusing to wear a mask in their most, em, “enlightened” moments.

    Currently in the UK, (dual UK/US) have been keen to go “home” to the US for a visit for sometime now, but not looking likely until who knows when…..

  23. While each and every covid death is tragic the daily deaths have been trending down and have dropped by about 90% since the peak. April 21 we lost 2693 people and just 267 died of covid on June 19th so we have obviously done some things right here in the USA. The question is post opening whether this trend continues in the correct direction or reverses and goes back up. Cases rising a bit was to be expected during a re-open but if younger folks are the ones now catching covid (In Florida average covid case age was 63 but lately 35!) then we won’t see mass hospitalization and death and might even get back to a more normalish stance. Fingers crossed and the less politicization of healthcare issues the better off all of us will be.

  24. Michael F – there are plenty of gorillas/guerillas in the room. BLM activists sent hundreds of thousands of blacks to the streets during a pandemic. Blacks are a high risk group for catching and dying from COVID-19 . The young are now seeing a spike in COVID-19, but it is the older black women in the protester’s families most at risk (has to do with age and instances of asthma).

    If the WHO and CDC had not been misleading the public for months in an effort to avoid a toilet paper like run on masks, more lives might have been saved. I seriously doubt that Trump wearing a mask would influence any Democrats or BLM protesters to wear masks.

  25. AlohaDaveKennedy – your final statement is bereft of intelligent thought. The point isn’t that Trump wearing a mask would influence Dems or BLM protestors, it’s that it WOULD influence his followers who are the most militant about not wearing masks.

  26. Gilbert I usually agree with you but not on this issue. I do wear masks when I travel and sanitize my surroundings. That is my personal choice and I AM NOT going to dictate my will on others just like I don’t tell others to wear a seat belt or not to smoke. I have the ability to stay SAFE based on my actions. You are going to alienate a large percentage of your viewers not just one guy named Tom. Why do it? This is a travel blog not an editorial blog on health and safety.

    1. It’s a personal blog, it can be anything he wants. The selfish people he’s talking about – and the ones you think he might be alienating – can gtfo. Or stay at home so we don’t have to cringe when some jerk in line, on the plane, in the store, etc rants about fascist mask policies.

  27. It’s a favorite past time to bash anyone who lives in the south of the United States.

    We do wear masks and if you go into almost any business here in Texas, you will see 100% of the employees wearing masks, and most of the patrons as well. We also locked down here at the same time as everyone else.

    Compared to New York, we have 1/3 of the # of cases and 7.087% of the deaths. New York’s population is 19 million and Texas’ is 29 million. So, we are doing and have done things right. If you look at the actual data, you will see new infection increases are linear with the new mounts of testing being done. The infection rate (those tested / those testing positive) remains steady.

    So, to say that we are not taking the precautions seriously “at all” is a far reach. And “Manslaughter”…come on now. You are casting a pretty wide net on your audience. One of which is me.

  28. I would have more interested in mask wearing if there were a date that I could stop wearing it. Regardless of what the circumstances are on that date. Then I can decide for myself whether to continue or stop.
    When will it be OK to stop? When the last world-wide case has been cured? A vaccine is months, maybe years away. Then billions of people need to be vaccinated. There are people in northwest Pakistan who still won’t accept the polio vaccine because they think we’re trying to kill them. We have our own anti-vaxxers in the USA.
    I will not submit to some endless rolling delay.

  29. Cmorgan – Your ability to stay SAFE based on your actions is somewhat reduced if the person/persons around you are not wearing a mask.
    It’s a two way thing!

  30. What made America great in the past has now exposed itself as also it’s greatest weakness: the sense of individualism and self-determination. American culture and society has been founded on the concept that individual rights and development are the cornerstones of our democracy (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). It’s served us very well, for the most part. However, this also means everyone gets the sense of entitlement that if they don’t agree, they don’t have to abide by what others say.

    The internet has made it very easy for anyone who doesn’t agree to rally and create an alternate reality/base and collect their voices and perpetuate their perspective on a low cost platform. They can mobilize quickly and effectively and disseminate information (factual or fake) as fast as one can type and click a button. This has been leveraged by all causes ranging from ridiculous to justified, from flat earthers, anti-vaxers, to metoo and Black Lives Matters movements.

    In the case of not wearing masks, and denying the reality and science of Covid-19, you have this platform which gives these people who don’t believe in it a place to broadcast and peddle their factually inaccurate and flawed thinking, under the cover of personal liberty and false information.

    This isn’t helped by the federal government, specifically, our president, showing little regard for the science driven approach, in their attempt to make this just a PR exercise and pretend everything is fine, and not addressing the reality and the severity of this global pandemic.

    It’s truly unfortunate that we don’t have leadership that cares more about the safety of the population than some sound bite or popularity poll. If our leaders would actually lead by example, wear a mask, take this threat seriously, instead of deflect and blame everyone and everything else, we might have had a different outcome today. When news of this first came out, other countries around the world were already showing what could happen if it wasn’t contained; yet our president instead chose to say that it will “magically” go away. And instead of taking concrete action, made political decisions like banning travel from China, yet allowed Europeans entry (which was the primary source of infections for NYC/East Coast). Blaming China as the reason for the predicament we are now in, yet not recognizing or acknowledging we had the ability to contain this early on but did nothing (not to speak of the undermining of our capabilities prior to the pandemic). And to this day, still chooses not to wear a mask. And his followers/supporters look at that and believe they too shouldn’t have to.

    We have, and will continue to, lose lives and livelihoods over this. Simply because we have a portion of the population that feels wearing a mask infringes on their rights.

    Congratulations, you’ve let the virus win, because it doesn’t care about political ideology, or your individual rights. It’s sole purpose is to infect and spread, and as long as we, as a society, can’t get on the same page about slowing it’s spread, it will continue to flourish.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I posted a little further up that I feel a lot of this stems from the now ingrained American culture of “it’s my right”. The US had opportunities that other nations simply didn’t have. It had a head-start, got warning shots from across the pond. Could have shut down the borders. But no, it chose to bury its head in the sand and pretend like nothings happening. All smoke and mirrors. And blame, blame, blame. Sorry, but when it becomes a domestic issue, you can’t keep blaming everyone else – it’s up to the government to take the responsibility. It was similar in the UK as well, Boris Johnson f*cked up epically – especially given the island status the UK enjoys as an added layer of protection that so many other nations who handled it better just didn’t have.

      The sad thing for the US is, nothing looks to change any time soon.

  31. Stogieguy is also right. All this – ‘…but isn’t saving one life worth it?’ crap is tiring. No, it isn’t worth unemploying 40 Million people and destroying an entire economy. Are 2 lives are 3? There’s some number where it makes sense, but it’s not 100,000 out of hundreds of millions – especially when 90% of them were basically on death’s door to begin with. The death rates are low, no city ever ran out of ventilators or even came close. What’s even more laughable is all this craziness about ventilators when the data showed that a person who needed a ventilator was going to die by that point anyway. We just prolonged their suffering. And anyone who is obsessed with calling others selfish for not wearing masks or distancing…if you’re wearing a mask and distancing and following strict standards it shouldn’t matter to you what other people are doing.

    1. You just don’t get it. The economy doesn’t have to die, the virus does. Businesses can reopen, society can exist, the key is to embrace social distancing, use masks and learn proper hygiene. It’s true, Japan never shut down, but the success of the country was based on the unselfish acts of the people to give each other distance and to embrace new protocols that slow rates of infection. It’s a small ask for getting life back in order.

      New Zealand is another interesting example: full lockdown, huge social distancing and mask embrace – now society is 100% back to normal, with no restrictions because the virus doesn’t exist at all.

    2. It is when that life is yours or someone you really care about. It isn’t when covid hasn’t touched you in a deeply personal way. My sister is an urgent care doctor in a major US city and she has watched so many people die of covid, so many personal tragedies. For a while, she was pretty worried about carrying something home that would get her family sick…the thought of one of them going on a ventilator or worse eventually led her to rent a short-term studio near the hospital. Some cities came pretty close to running out of ventilators, NYC is one of them. Many cities might have if there wasn’t a frenzy to stock hospitals with more of them.

      Your argument makes the situation really damned if you do/damned if you don’t, and the reasoning is circular. Only “100,000” in the US have been reported to have died of covid (123K+) today, but that’s because our country has been in lock-down mode and our borders are pretty much shut off from international travel. The number would most certainly be higher if everyone was out and about. So because only “100,000” people died it’s not worth the economic impact to 40 million people, most of whom have been receiving unemployment benefits and an additional $600/week for FPUC benefits anyway?! But if we were running as business as usual and 200k/500k/1m/5m/20m people died, then it becomes “not worth it?” What is the arbitrary number that we as a society should accept? With thinking like yours, how can society ever reach a consensus on how to act responsibly?

      Anyone whose callous actions infected another person with covid – who eventually died – robbed that person of whatever remaining life they had. Being “close to death’s door” doesn’t make the selfish actions any more acceptable.

  32. Doesn’t have to die? Has your head been in the sand for 3 months. Do you know how many trillions of dollars were spent on this? The mass depression, increases in domestic violence, drug and alcohol use, etc, etc…do you have any idea what the effect of this has been not just on the US population, but the global populations and economies? All for what? So a few thousand people who were already close to death get to live another year? Not mention we have no idea what the long term adverse effects will be. What we do know is the virus would have had practically no effect on about half the population regardless of masks and distancing. I also love when people compare countries like the US to New Zealand. Yeah real apples to apples there. An isolated, homogeneous island nation of 5 Million and GDP of 200 Billion (the US is 20 Trillion). How can you possibly use them as an example of anything that compares to the US. Business can reopen? Are you kidding – you know how many business no longer exists because of this? We have 40 Million people out of work. Fine tell people they should wear masks, that’s no big deal. But if they don’t that’s their choice and if you wear your you’ll be just fine unless someone pulls your mask off an sneezes in your mouth. I think you have no idea how the virus transmits. It’s like you think just because someone isn’t wearing a mask there’s a 100% chance they will give it to everyone they come within 6 feet of. That’s what the media has scared you into believing.

  33. Oh Gilbert! You are such a great guy-I 99.9% of the time love your articles-but why do you have to be so self-righteous and smug sometimes? Why? People in glass houses should not throw stones. Recall, you were one of the “selfish folks” urging people to travel to Asia in the late winter–and arguing with some of us that it was safe and we didn’t have science on our side then. And now there *could* be a second surge–but if so, some may be happening in places that locked down early and stopped the lock down late-like California. There may be more + cases, but hospitalizations are not surging-and now there is data this may have been around since last fall. Since immunity may not be long lasting (according to some studies) some of us may have previously gotten it and are not even testing positive now. And can get it again. We will see what happens. .Maybe there will be a vaccine, and maybe not. Let’s cross our fingers, but such new found harshness…

  34. Ah, yes, everything I’m reading confirms what I’ve been thinking. The forced mask wearing crowd is really the people who made travel pre lockdown so disagreeable.

    I’ve had several trips during the lockdown and it’s been so fantastic. Even recently with nearly full flights on AA everyone has been so polite and respectful. The airports are a breeze, even Charlotte isn’t terrible. I’m off on my next trip tomorrow.

    I’m more than happy if these whiny forced mask wearing people continue to stay home. Clearly they are the ones who made travel such a chore previously.

  35. Having read through this thread, I despair for the US. How can people mix up “their freedoms” with the need to be allowed infect others, maybe their own parents / Grand-Parents

    How can some posters turn this into a Left -V- Right argument, last time I checked the virus did not care what sort or type of human you were

    Yes, people have a right to expose themselves to anything that might kill them, but they do not have a right to expose others

    A final word, if those that care little of the virus would talk to those families that have lost loved ones to it , I doubt they would hold the same views

  36. From a citizen of the country next-door, let me tell you that it’s terrifying to have your next-door neighbour be so selfish and reckless with everyone’s safety. Covid-19 came into Canada mostly through the U.S. (that was determined by tracing our earliest cases.) In my area alone (Niagara Region,) 40% of our cases early on were from those coming in from the States. We STILL have Americans showing up and trying to get into our country for SHOPPING & TOURISM even though our borders are closed to non-essential travel. STILL. 5,000 Americans were turned away at the border for this reason. Others have come in using a loophole or a lie to get into the country on promise of self-quarantining for 2 weeks and then been found at tourist spots. HONESTLY, THE U.S. HAS LOST THEIR SENSES and it’s bad enough that they want to waste the lives of their own people but they have no business doing it to us too. We’re working hard to crush the curve and we’ve been making great progress. AMERICANS PLEASE STAY THE HELL HOME UNTIL YOU CAN BE ADULTS ABOUT THIS. (My apologies to the Americans who like the blogger are not amongst the selfish and stupid that are making this virus rage in the U.S.)

  37. Can all admit that there are innumerable actions we take and actions we don’t take that are infringements on freedom, but we comply in order to be on the right side of the law or the right side of courtesy/humanity: subject to search at airports, driving sober, and any number of things when we are infected with communicable illness. Get a grip; just be courteously and wear a mask even if you believe it to be ineffective. I truly believe it has come down to simply courteous behavior.

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