The United States leads the world in coronavirus deaths per day, as well as daily new cases. Because of these troubling trends, the European Union (EU) determined this week that it would formally remove the U.S. from its safe travel list.
Around 1,504 deaths from coronavirus are being reported daily in the country, according to a seven-day average calculated by the Reuters COVID-19 Global Tracker. The U.S. is also identifying more than 156,000 new cases on a daily basis.
The U.S. leads on both measures, the tracker notes, by wide margins. On deaths per day, Russia comes in second, reporting over 800 deaths daily, around half the number the United States is presently seeing. For new COVID cases, India is in second place, and is reporting just over 41,000 new cases on the average day.
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The increases in coronavirus cases in the United States prompted the EU to remove the country from its safe travel list on Monday, and is recommending its member nations to create restrictions for U.S. travelers (Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia were also removed from EU’s safe travel list).
The recommendation reverses a previous decision that placed the U.S. on the safe travel list back in June. The recommendation is nonbinding, as the EU doesn’t have unified rules for tourism, but it highlights how the pandemic is significantly worse in the U.S. than in other parts of the world that have taken a proactive approach to controlling the spread of the virus.
Much of the high COVID numbers in the U.S. may be attributable to the fact that the country has a low vaccination rate (52 percent) when compared to other nations. The U.S. ranks 38th in the number of doses administered per capita, and is 36th in terms of how many of the country’s residents are fully vaccinated.
The spike in higher hospitalizations and cases is likely driven by many in the U.S. who refuse to get vaccinated, as well as the more contagious Delta variant of the virus becoming the dominant strain. Those who are unvaccinated are 29 times more likely to need hospitalization versus those who are fully vaccinated, and there’s new evidence to suggest that, while those who are vaccinated can still contract coronavirus, they’re less likely to spread it or have it for as long as those who didn’t get the vaccine.
Results from a recent Economist/YouGov poll suggest that there will remain a higher-than-desired number of Americans who will not get the vaccine, with 18 percent saying they are currently not interested in getting the vaccine and 9 percent saying they’re still unsure about getting it. And while 72 percent say they’ve either been vaccinated, received at least one shot or plan to get vaccinated soon, some health experts say that that number is on the very low end of what’s needed to reduce the spread of coronavirus, with other advocates stating that a higher vaccination rate, closer to 80-90 percent, is probably necessary.