WORLD Evidence doesn't support blaming migrants in US for COVID-19 surge


Evidence doesn't support blaming migrants in US for COVID-19 surge

16:43, August 16, 2021

File photo taken on March 30, 2021 shows migrants attempting to cross the Rio Bravo river on the border between Mexico and the United States, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (Photo: Xinhua)

Different voices have emerged blaming people entering the country — in particular, migrants crossing the US border — for the spread of COVID-19 as the delta variant pushes a surge of cases across the US, NBC News reported Saturday.

But there's no evidence to support such accusations, especially from Republican governors Greg Abbott in Texas and Ron DeSantis in Florida. Experts believe the impact of these cases does not make a difference in the American health situation.

It is not migratory patterns that explain the recent outbreaks of COVID-19, but the low vaccination rates in some states, Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University School of Medicine, told Noticias Telemundo.

"In some states, it isn't clear that there is very much migration right now at all, although there are big outbreaks," Caplan said. "As far as I know, the migration patterns in the past month are more north than south. That does not correlate at all."

"There is a very long history in the United States, sadly, of blaming recent immigrants," Caplan said. "They are always trying to blame outsiders for 'diseases', and there isn't any evidence, particularly right now, when we know why there are big outbreaks in the South."

For Caplan, blaming immigrants - undocumented or not - for the recent outbreaks of COVID-19 is not only wrong, but "racist".

The 10 states with the highest rates of coronavirus infections in the past seven days are located in the South, including in Florida and Texas.

Although immigrants may be contributing to overall COVID-19 case numbers, Caplan said the increase in infections and current outbreak patterns across the country are actually in response to policies that discourage the use of masks, vaccinations and the isolation of COVID-19 patients.

William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, recently told PolitiFact that given the extensive transmission already in the US, "the immigration contribution is akin to pouring a bucket of water into a swimming pool."

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