As a result of COVID19 within their borders, many countries have placed travel restrictions on American Citizens. Several countries prohibited United States Citizens from traveling for non-essential purposes. According to the Passport Index, the US Mobility Score was -68, suggesting that they lost 68 visa waivers in 2020.
Understanding The United States’ Response To COVID19
As fears emerged in the winter of 2019, the United States had plenty of time to prepare for the virus, and by the time it arrived in Europe in February 2020, it was obvious that the virus was spreading rapidly. Despite possessing a range of tools and experience in disease control, the US tended to downplay the seriousness of the outbreak, failed to contain it, and struggled with vaccine distribution.
As Ed Yong from The Atlantic reported: “The United States has correctly castigated China for its duplicity and the WHO for its laxity—but the United States. has also failed the international community. Under President Donald Trump, the United States. has withdrawn from several international partnerships and antagonized its allies. It has a seat on the WHO’s executive board, but left that position empty for more than two years, only filling it this May, when the pandemic was in full swing. Since 2017, Trump has pulled more than 30 staffers out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s office in China, who could have warned about the spreading coronavirus. Last July, he defunded an American epidemiologist embedded within China’s CDC.”
Regardless of what could have happened if the US had retained its foreign partnerships, there was no national mask or social distancing mandate as the virus spread rapidly across the country. Each state was given the task of developing a COVID response plan. This makes sense for states with fewer residents, but if adjacent states' borders aren't closed, a mask mandate in one state but not another is counterproductive. It wasn’t until January 20, 2021, when President Joseph R. Biden Jr. signed an Executive Order that there was a law about mask-wearing. It states: “to protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce, and to ensure the continuity of Government services and activities, on-duty or on-site Federal employees, on-site Federal contractors, and other individuals in Federal buildings and on Federal lands should all wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines.” The Executive Order also notes: “Heads of agencies shall review their existing authorities and, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations and resources, seek to provide masks to individuals in Federal buildings when needed.” Masks are now enforced on Federal property and provided for those who do not have them, nearly a year after the first case in the United States. The United States has long declared itself to be the "land of the free," reinforcing their individualistic mindset. It was virtually impossible to pass a national mask rule.
The vaccine was released in 2020, along with the delivery schedule, and it was the US's chance to rebound from the failed response. Not knowing who was eligible to receive the vaccine, where to go, slow vaccine development, and skepticism was among some of the issues. Nonetheless, as of Feb 23, 2021, PBS reported: “About 1.6 million Americans are being vaccinated each day. But, at that rate, it will take about a year to vaccinate all adults in the country.”
Some countries have relaxed their restrictions after the new year, bringing the US mobility score to 105. There are currently 62 countries that allow people to enter without a visa and 40 countries that require a visa upon arrival. 93 countries, on the other hand, have continued their COVID19 ban or have a pre-approved visa requirement.