CONMEBOL postpones World Cup qualifiers

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Brazil is postponing games while the U.S. marches on.

Brazil is postponing games while the U.S. marches on.
Image: Getty Images

It’s more about travel regulations and quarantine rules than the actual spread of the virus, but the postponement of this month’s South American qualifying matches for the World Cup serves as a stark reminder of how far behind the rest of the world the United States is and how badly we continue to manage the pandemic.

Brazil just set its new daily high with 1,910 deaths on Wednesday, which is still below that day’s American death toll of 2,369. But while the CONMEBOL qualifiers are being called off for later this month, the U.S. is pushing forward, not only with games, but with fans in the stands, including at indoor events like hockey games. How great of an idea has that been? Well, the Pittsburgh Penguins this week posted an image of the fans at their game, which included masks Photoshopped onto fans.

On Friday, there were 75,495 new coronavirus cases in Brazil, which is actually more than the 65,682 in the United States. But remember that it’s not just about Brazil, which still is led by the Trumpesque president Jair Bolsonaro. Argentina’s case tally on Friday was 7,891 — about 200 fewer than New York State. Colombia was at 3,371 new cases on Friday, just more than half of Florida’s new caseload. Uruguay still has had fewer cases for the entirety of the pandemic, 10,552, than the United States has had deaths in the past week, 12,229.

CONMEBOL still would have gone on with the qualifiers had the players been available, of course, but governments making such a thing impractical, with mandated quarantines upon arrival back in South America, and then again upon returning to club teams in Europe, meaning that any players in the world’s top leagues would basically be sidelined for a month.

Just because we’re doing better than we were in America doesn’t mean we’re doing well yet. Hope everybody enjoys the NBA All-Star festivities. Should be great.

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