Studies have repeatedly disproved the idea that immigration is linked to diseases — and the current outbreak has nothing to do with that.
At a packed rally in South Carolina, President Donald Trump addressed the coronavirus outbreak in two ways: he congratulated himself and his administration and tried to blame Democrats and immigrants.
“We are magnificently organized with the best professionals in the world,” Trump said of the administration’s preparations, although he seemed to concede that the virus might spread in the US — something he had previously tried to downplay.
“We have to take it very, very seriously … We are preparing for the worst,” he continued. “My administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to prevent the spread of this illness in the United States. We are ready. We are ready. Totally ready.”
The disease, which originated in Wuhan, China, but is now spreading in several countries including Japan, Iran, and Italy, has now killed more than 2,800 people. While there is much disinformation about the virus and the outbreak, it is a major health concern nonetheless.
While the World Health Organization stopped short of declaring it a pandemic, it did say that it has “pandemic potential” and raised the alert to the highest possible level.
Yet instead of providing clarity and a positive direction, the US President chose to focus on his anti-immigration policy, linking the outbreak with “the direct threat” posed by “open borders”.
“We are doing everything in our power to keep the infection and those carrying the infection from entering the country. We have no choice,” Trump said at the Coliseum and Performing Arts Center. “Whether it’s the virus that we’re talking about, or the many other public health threats, the Democrat policy of open borders is a direct threat to the health and wellbeing of all Americans.”
Trump pushed the idea that immigrants are “a health crisis”, that they bring diseases into the country. But this has been shown untrue by research, time and time again. The number of “diseased” immigrants arriving in the country has always been “infinitesimal,” a 2002 study found. This fear doesn’t have its roots in actual science, but rather in white supremacy and xenophobia. The belief that immigrants are somehow biologically inferior — also a common belief in fascist regimes — is well-linked with fears of immigrants bringing disease. As for the coronavirus outbreak, it is not immigration that is causing or spreading it, but rather our very globalized world.
Meanwhile, it has been shown that Trump repeatedly tried to cut CDC funding and undermine scientists. Coincidentally or not, the CDC’s first test kits turned out to be faulty, significantly delaying mass testing in the US.
President Trump did not stop here, calling any criticism over his reaction to the global coronavirus outbreak a “hoax.” Right before digressing to insult his political opponents and the press, he launched a tirade against the Democrats as a whole, calling the coronavirus outbreak “their new hoax.”
“The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. They’re politicizing it,” he said. “They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax.”
It is a time where clarity and scientific facts are most important and digressing into insults and vague reassurances is hardly beneficial.
Just as China published a book on how the government contained the virus (while the outbreak is still ongoing), the US leadership is taking a victory lap while experts are extremely concerned.
A total of 59 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the US, according to the World Health Organization, including the case of a man who has not traveled to an infected country and has not been in contact with anyone who has, raising concerns of community spread in the country.