Stay away, Americans! EU says you and your coronavirus are not wanted here in Europe

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The European Union is banning Americans from visiting until they lower their coronavirus curve.
The European Union is banning Americans from visiting until they lower their coronavirus curve. Guardian photo

So, Americans, I see you’re dying to get out of the house. You feel trapped and that horrible, awful, disgusting mask has ruined your way of life. Throwing groceries all over a supermarket is a good way to battle mask shaming. I understand. After all, you have a government that told you the coronavirus would go away when the warm weather came. Now you can quick fry fajita steak on the streets of Houston and the number of cases in Texas has more than doubled in a month. But who reads those virus tables, anyway? Some Fake Media cartoonists do those, don’t they?

I bet some of you would like to come over here to Italy. Sit in the shade of an outdoor trattoria, sipping a cool Pecorino wine. Stroll a beach in Sardinia, explore a walled hill town with views of Tuscany’s wine country. Sound good? Something that would get your mind and body out of the colossal, tragic mess that is the United States?

Tough.

We’re not letting you in. Nope. Don’t even think about it. The European Union announced Monday that its 27 member states will open its borders Wednesday but for only 14 countries. 

The U.S. is not one of them.

The list of 14 who can visit

But if you have friends in one of the following nations — Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay — have them send you a postcard. They’re free to come Wednesday. 

Go ahead and blame China. They started this thing. However, the EU says China has flattened its curve enough to accept its visitors — once China drops its ban of EU travelers.

The qualification standard is having 16 or fewer active coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the EU’s current rate. The number must be over the past two weeks and the list will be reviewed every two weeks.

In the U.S., the number over the past two weeks is 33 per 100,000. Italy hasn’t had a net increase in active cases since April 26.

I’m an American, born, raised and educated. I look American. In fact, I’ve played one in TV series and movies here. Yet I couldn’t be happier that my brethren won’t get within an ocean of my adopted home. 

You Americans are toxic.

You’re poisoned. You’re tainted. You’re ignorant. You are as welcome in Italy as canned spaghetti. And you only have yourselves to blame.

The bar graphs of most nations on earth show their virus curves are flattening. In Italy, the first European nation to lock down, the number of actual positives (total cases minus deaths and recovered) has dropped from 42,075 to 16.496 in one month. 

U.S. numbers rising

Meanwhile, in the same time frame, the U.S. shot up from 1,131,170 to 1,435,851. That’s 87 times more active cases than Italy with only five times the population. The U.S. bar graph looks like a topographic map of the Himalayas.

Americans are protesting masks despite evidence that it saves lives against the coronavirus.
Americans are protesting masks despite evidence that it saves lives. Houston Chronicle photo

The U.S. hot spots are exploding. Since the end of May, cases in Texas have gone from 60,000 to 130,000. Florida had its all-time single-day high of 9,585 on Saturday. It had another 8,530 on Sunday. Half a fraternity at the University of Central Florida is positive. South Carolina and Nevada also broke daily records over the weekend. 

Here in Lazio, a region of nearly 6 million people, we averaged only 13 cases a day in June. We haven’t had more than four deaths in a single day since June 13. The U.S., with 4 percent of the world’s population, has more than a quarter of the world’s cases and deaths.

And it’s getting worse. Virus cases are rising in 29 states. Yet states with upward trends were still opening up businesses.  Now I’m reading reports of six-hour waits for testing. About 20 percent of those testing positive in Florida now are between 25-34. Tracing doesn’t work. The New York Times reported that 60 percent of people who’ve tested positive in Massachusetts don’t pick up the phone when called to follow up. 

Trumpeteers don’t read this blog. (In fact, do they read at all?) But if this happens to land on their screen between their Faux News highlights, they’d better not bring up Trump’s tired argument that the case numbers are from the U.S. doing more testing than any other country.

Not true.

The U.S.’ 100,271 tests per 1 million population is only fourth in the world behind the United Kingdom’s 136,852, Russia’s 132,487 and Spain’s 110,425. However, expect the U.S.’ number to go down. Hair Hitler said if they slowed testing — and he’s stopping funding for testing in five states — the case number would also drop.

Deaths would go up but at least they can trumpet a drop in cases. After all, it’s an election year.

American people a major problem

The biggest problem isn’t just Mango Mussolini’s leadership akin to a drunk frat president. It’s the American people. Many cling so tightly to the Constitution and American flag they can’t see the carnage around them. A man stood up at a Port St. Lucie, Fla., meeting announcing the mandatory mask rule and yelled, “I WILL NOT BE MUZZLED LIKE A MAD DOG!” A councilman in Scottsdale, Ariz., one of the wealthiest suburbs in the U.S., put on a mask during a public appearance and said into the mike, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” before tearing it off in protest.

And anyone see the video of the woman in Dallas when told to put on a mask in a supermarket and she answered by flinging her groceries out of her basket like those moronic Florida spring breakers flinging Frisbees?

The mask is a major issue in the U.S. It is not in Italy. I wear my mask everywhere outside. I only take it off at the gym or when I’m eating or drinking. In Rome, where we’ve had only three new cases Thursday, about 80-90 percent of the people still wear masks. I have never heard a single Roman complain.

People wearing masks in Milan against the coronavirus.
People wearing masks in Milan. WSJ photo

And guess what, Yanks? We want to keep it that way.

Businesses are hurting in Italy, a country where 15 percent of its revenue comes from tourism. Last summer, U.S. government statistics show that 7 million Americans visited Europe. My Abbey Theatre Irish Pub near Piazza Navona isn’t getting near the business without Americans dropping in for a beer and staying all evening.

I feel for my adopted city. I feel for my friends in tourism. But my life here is approaching normal. I can go to any restaurant. I can drink in any pub or enoteca. I can go to the beach. I’m flying to Puglia on July 10, to Greece Aug. 15. 

I don’t want a second wave to send me careening back to this spring when Italy went into strict lockdown and I learned 20 different pastas in which to make pasta amatriciana. No one does. Greece has done one of the world’s best jobs in curbing this from the beginning. When we land in Skiathos, we will get tested. We can continue on our journey to Skopelos but if the results come back positive the next day, we must quarantine in our island hotel for 14 days. 

The last thing I want to see plodding through Piazza Navona this summer is a bunch of guys in Yankee ball caps or University of Texas tank tops. I will run like a Christian in the Colosseum. 

Europeans lose faith in U.S.

I’m not the only one. According to a survey by the European Council for Foreign Relations, 60 percent of people surveyed in Germany, France, Spain, Denmark in Portugal say they have lost trust in the U.S. as a global leader.

Said the report: “Now, Europeans’ trust in Trump’s America is gone. Many of them have been appalled by the country’s chaotic response to Covid-19; the lack of solidarity it showed with Europeans in the March 12th closure of its border to members of the Schengen area; and its lack of leadership in tackling the coronavirus crisis at the global level — or even engagement with the issue (beyond a war of words with the World Health Organization).”

Coronavirus ign seen all over Italy reads, "TOGETHER, WITHOUT FEAR."
Sign seen all over Italy reads, “TOGETHER, WITHOUT FEAR.”

What’s sad is my American friends who want to visit Europe are the masked ones. They follow the rules. They believe in the science. Those throwing hamburger patties on supermarket floors and waving the Constitution at city council meetings couldn’t find Europe with Google Maps and the ghost of Ferdinand Magellan. They don’t have passports. In fact, only 40 percent of Americans do. Hell, 10 percent have never even left their home state.

So I tell my American friends: Punt 2020, but keep reading the news. The EU’s ruling is not legally binding and the final decision will be up to each individual country. There are flights listed from the U.S. to Europe but you’d better have a good business reason or bad family emergency when you reach your departure gate. The list could also change every two weeks.

What won’t change is the U.S. curve while its barking seal of a president views statistics as reelection talking points instead of human lives. If I lived in the U.S., instead of circling a date on my calendar marking my departure for Rome or Palermo or Florence, I’d circle another date when everything can change.

Nov. 3.


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