Pot, meet kettle

It is pretty much indisputable that New Zealand has done much, much better at containing the coronavirus than the US. The leadership shown by the NZ government stands in stark contrast to the utter shambles that we have seen in the US. That country has had just 1,569 cases and 22 deaths so far, compared to over five million cases and 163,000 deaths in the US. Life in that country seems to have pretty much gone back to normal, though the government stands ready to take quick action if there is any sign of the virus coming back.

So it came as a surprise that the US has issued a warning to be very cautious about US citizens traveling to NZ. Why? Because NZ currently has 23 active cases. Yes, a whopping 23! They are all being being kept in managed isolation but that tiny number seems to be enough to merit a travel advisory from a country where the numbers are two to three orders of magnitude larger.

This advisory is not necessary because many parts of the world, including NZ, are not allowing Americans to enter even if they do travel there. While the European Union is easing travel restrictions within its borders and from certain other countries, the list of countries to which it has opened its borders notably excludes the US. Canada is also being very strict about not allowing Americans in. An American friend of mine’s sister’s daughter died in an accident in Canada. When he tried to go for the funeral, he was told that he had to first provide the Canadian authorities with documentation of his US citizenship, his sister’s citizenship, and copies of both their birth certificates to prove the relationship before they would even consider letting him in. Since these things are impossible to get at short notice, he did not go. They clearly just do not want Americans to enter.

It used to be the case that if one had a US passport, one had easy access to most parts of the world, with the ability to get on a plane and arrive at many countries and be granted entry without having to get a visa ahead of time. But those days are gone. Thanks to the utter incompetence of the US government led by Trump in dealing with the pandemic that has resulted in the greatest number of infections and deaths in the world and still shows little or no sign of abating, people from the US are no longer welcome, even in those countries that used to be its closest allies.


  1. says

    I do not think this is a “pot calling the kettle black” situation. This is a “pot calling the sparklingly clean glass vase black” situation.

  2. Matt G says

    The pot calling the stainless steel kettle black is my preferred expression. Accusing someone else of doing something they AREN’T doing while you yourself are doing it is a whole other level of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

    Mano, sorry to hear about your friend’s niece. My partner’s entire family -- including her elderly mother -- are in Canada. If anything happens, we may not be able to go.

  3. sqlrob says

    Two to three orders of magnitude? I think Texas alone is close to 4 orders of magnitude.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    The point of the saying is that the pot cannot recognize its own condition. Another (admittedly rare) reading of the saying is the pot seeing its own condition in the reflection from the spotless kettle. AKA projection. A common affliction among conservatives.

  5. Mark Dowd says

    Stop calling it incompetence. Vanity Fair broke the story days ago. The federal response was deliberately sabatoged for partisan political gain so they could finger point at democratic governors.

    It has never been a matter of incompetence. This crisis was deliberately and consciously made worse by them.

  6. Who Cares says

    It is not like you can’t get into (most of) the EU even if you are from for example a hot spot location in Florida.
    See this article. And this same type of zombie (how else can you live without a brain) is how South Korea got new community transmission, some moron from Belgium decided that he couldn’t possibly be infected and evaded quarantine.

  7. jrkrideau says

    Canada is also being very strict about not allowing Americans in.

    We have been leting Americans transit by car from Washington state through British Columbia to Alaska as long as they maintained strict quarantine precautions. A lot of Canadians have not been too impressed to hear that some of those Americans have been discovered sight-seeing in Banff and Lake Louise, both in Alberta.

    Apparently we are tightening up things with strict timing etc. but I don’t think the offenders realize just what they are risking if they do not comply.
    I think this sort of deviation may come under the Quarantine Act.

    (2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable
    (a) on conviction on indictment, to a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than three years, or to both; and

    (b) on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $300,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.


    A few people I know seem to favour (a) right now.

  8. Mano Singham says


    I heard on NPR that Canadian boaters in British Columbia had noticed American pleasure boats comng into Canadian waters, docking at local ports, and then people going sightseeing, without masks of course. When the Canadians started monitoring these boats, they went ‘dark’, i.e., turned off all electronic navigation aids.

  9. Matt G says

    US boaters in Canadian waters? Nothing some scuba gear and a drill couldn’t fix….

  10. jrkrideau says

    # 8 Mano Singham
    Yes. They apparently are landing as well. This is even dumber as they will be illegally in the country.

    @ 9 Matt G
    I would not go that far but I’d check the quality of any fuel I was buying and be real careful around the bigger fishing boats. Oh and watch out for horsemen carrying guns.

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