If anecdotal reports from India are true, what will US officials do this time? Repeat the lockdowns?
India faces a dire COVID crisis, with growing cases, and just as in 2020, the US government announced a travel ban.
“The Biden administration will restrict travel from India of non-US citizens from May 4 to prevent Covid-19 variants from entering the country,” The Times of India reported. I’ll skip the observation about how Joe Biden called such travel bans racist in 2020. Let’s focus on what this action might tell us about future Biden policy.
This chart shows just how serious things are in India.
What this means: A Travel Ban echoes how government officials dealt with the pandemic last time. Is that a preview?
According to the NY Times, “37 fully vaccinated doctors came down with Covid-19 earlier this month.”
Also, “It’s affecting young adults. It’s affecting families. It’s a new thing altogether. Two-month-old babies are getting infected.”
The NY Times warns this is all anecdotal. However, it has doctors worried about a new and potentially more virulent form of Covid.
Is this true? Or, is it more doom and gloom?
It is hard to tell. The data within India is limited. According to the Times report, “Scientists are trying to determine what role variants of the virus might be playing. They are working with precious little data.” So, if there is a new variant or variants at work here, it might be some time before we know–only increasing the risk of global spread.
Whatever the case, India is facing a significant challenge. And, it is now spreading. Widely. It seems unlikely it would be contained within India.
If there is now some type of new Covid variant and it spreads outside India, this will mean one of two things. Either, we find out the anecdotal evidence of infections to children and spreading to immunized people are wrong, or, one or both anecdotal reports are true.
If true, each has serious implications for what will happen in the US once this potentially new variant inevitably, given globalization, finds its way here.
First, if children are becoming infected, it will lead to renewed school cancelations or pushing back school opening dates. This will be combined with a push to vaccinate children—with the natural requirements that non-immunized children cannot attend school.
This will have serious ramifications for the mental health of children and the functioning of the US economy. Some school systems have not restarted schools—and have set September dates for reopening. The arrival of any new form of Covid, and if the anecdotal reports are true, will prompt teacher unions to insist on further school closures. And, pliant Democratic leadership will comply.
Second, if it is spreading to the immunized as the New York Times report of yesterday suggested, it will fuel a push for new booster shots. So, get ready for a third or fourth jab potentially.
And while everyone waits on more jabs and schools to reopen, a lockdown seems the inevitable response for many jurisdictions in the US.
So, now the question really becomes, how long until Joe Biden insists on another lockdown? And how many people will go along with it this time? How many masks will be enough this time?
It is too early to tell. However, the crisis in India will give pause to policymakers regardless of what the “science” eventually tells us about what is happening in India. The travel ban is a preview of things to come. That is, if those anecdotal reports from India are true.