As coronavirus cases blast skyward across the United States, it has become increasingly clear that not all of them are being ‘domestically produced,’ so to speak.
In fact, in some Southwestern regions of the country, the dramatic increases in COVID-19-related hospitalizations are coming from across the border.
As hospital ICUs and floors filled to capacity — and beyond — in southern Texas and Arizona, immigration analysts pointed to a few reports that noted illegal aliens are responsible for a healthy portion of those surges.
“It’s official. Texas border hospitals are over-capacity with covid patients. This story, like most, omits reference to the fact that covid refugees are flooding in from Mexico, though CNN reported this to be true,” Todd Bensman, a former journalist and current fellow at Center for Immigration Studies, tweeted July 1.
It's official. Texas border hospitals are over-capacity with covid patients. This story, like most, omits reference to the fact that covid refugees are flooding in from Mexico, though CNN reported this to be true.https://t.co/lRx4dbGvcG
— Todd Bensman (@BensmanTodd) July 1, 2020
In his tweet, Bensman included a story from KVEO noting that “all COVID-19 units in the Rio Grande Valley are at or over capacity, according to doctors on the frontlines.”
“Cameron county is at 131 percent capacity, we went from being at 71 percent of COVID-19 beds to 131 percent, so overcapacity,” said Dr. James Castillo, M.D., Cameron County Health Authority.
In addition, information posted to an online Hidalgo County COVID-19 tracker showed both counties were on “Level 1 Emergency,” meaning both were at capacity and able to call for outside assistance.
The crush of coronavirus patients was so bad that doctors and staff were pulling beds from other parts of their hospitals, including emergency rooms, leaving fewer spaces available for other types of patients.
“Right now people are waiting a long time, unfortunately, some people are leaving without receiving care and that’s always a huge concern,” said one doctor at the Cameron County press conference, KVEO reported.
As of this week, hospitals had yet to release information as to where additional COVID-19 patients would be sent once all facilities were full.
Bensman isn’t the only one to conclude that border-region hospitals are becoming over-stuffed with coronavirus patients from Mexico.
In a June 26 piece for Conservative Review, Daniel Horowitz wrote:
Why should Americans in border states have to go back into lockdown and be treated like criminals by a government that failed to lock down the border when Mexico experienced its worst surge of coronavirus in late May?
Despite the mounting evidence that the worst part of the surge in the southwest is the result of cross-border travel beginning in May, government officials continue to act as if this is a domestic problem and that somehow Americans have been careless in mitigating the virus. They are using the results of their failure to lock down the border as a pretext to lock down Americans. Talk about chutzpah.
Late last month, as cases began to rise, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reimposed some lockdown measures.
Horowitz noted that Brownsville public health director Arturo Rodriguez very aptly recognized, and then described, the phenomenon.
“In other words, you have three rates: the U.S., Mexico and your border rate,” Rodriguez said, according to the Washington Post.
Horowitz (and Rodriguez) argues that the U.S. experienced its coronavirus peak in March and April, but Mexico was about a month behind, having experienced its peak in May and June.
So, given that data, the dramatic rise in cases along the U.S.-Mexico border is being primarily driven by infections being carried into the United States.
“What you see is an unmistakable surge in southern California, southern Arizona, and the Rio Grande Valley counties in southeast Texas, which all share a border with the towns in Mexico that were hardest hit beginning in late May,” Horowitz noted citing a chart produced by data analyst and sportscaster Kyle Lamb.
Hotspot Index (HSPI). All U.S. counties through June 23 with cases/deaths and per 100,000. HSPI totals cases for last 21 days as rate of county total, compared to nat'l average and indexed to 100 scale (100 being average). The more color the higher index.https://t.co/5cZVSLWv35
— Kyle Lamb (@kylamb8) June 24, 2020
“Even before any speculation about the possible spread from illegal immigrants, it is now an open fact that green card holders and dual citizens were completely exempt from the travel ban and came here to access our hospitals,” he added.
So — about that immigration reform, Congress?