"After what our nation and the world has been through in the last two months with the Wuhan, China, coronavirus, I suggest media outlets go back and take another look."
Congressman Brian Babin
Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36) wrote the following op-ed, featured in the Washington Examiner, to highlight the potential threat that the coronavirus (COVID-19) could have on America with an unsecured border:
In June of last year, to encourage members of the press to cover real news relevant to the public, my staff distributed copies of an article entitled “Border Patrol agents fall prey to illnesses plaguing migrant holding centers” to a huge crowd of reporters camped outside my office trying to get a peek inside a closed-door hearing about special counsel Robert Mueller's report across the hallway in the House Judiciary Committee.
Most of them took one look at the headline, saw that it had nothing to do with the Mueller fiasco, and tossed it aside. After what our nation and the world has been through in the last two months with the Wuhan, China, coronavirus, I suggest media outlets go back and take another look.
The article laid out in chilling detail not only the risks that our brave border protection officers face every day but jaw-dropping accounts of numerous infections and transmissions that many of them have contracted while processing massive influxes of people from developing countries (144,000 in May 2019 alone). Among them: H1N1 Swine Flu, typhus, tuberculosis, mumps, lice, and scabies. Our border agents have been seriously affected by diseases that the vast majority of U.S. citizens have been protected from through public health measures and inoculations.
The public health concerns laid out in this article go back decades, long before most U.S. citizens had ever heard of the coronavirus or the COVID-19 virus, and they have only grown more serious and deadly with the emergence of this extremely contagious virus.
The pro-open borders crowd in Congress and America’s wealthiest zip codes are quick to point out that there is no verified transmission of the COVID-19 virus as of yet at our border. They are less likely to tell you that more than 1,100 Chinese nationals were apprehended at our northern and southern borders last year, or that it is not unlikely that people from other countries afflicted by the virus are illegally slipping through our border today. In light of this current major public health threat, the question must be asked: How much of the COVID-19 virus contagion has already come in undetected?
This is what we know as of now:
The COVID-19 virus outbreak has now spread to more than 70 countries and affected more than 90,000 people. The World Health Organization has warned that it could soon reach most, “if not all,” nations around the world.
The WHO has raised the risk assessment to “very high” as the pneumonia-like virus continues to spread globally. The disease is more than three times as deadly as the seasonal flu, according to the WHO.
Chinese scientists have identified two strains of the virus, suggesting that it has already mutated at least once.
It is largely a mystery as to how this virus is spreading. As of Tuesday, March 3, the WHO suggested it could be more easily transmitted than previously thought, but there is too little data to draw firm conclusions.
Current estimates suggest that symptoms of the COVID-19 virus appear within five days or less in most cases, but the range could be between one and 14 days.
Screening and testing were delayed at controlled international ports of entry into the United States. Screening does not exist at all in uncontrolled areas of our southern border.
Testing methods, as of this writing, are unreliable because of the nature and unknown aspects of the disease.
We know that the virus is spreading, yet current methods of detection are unreliable. We are not positive how it is transmitted. Our southern border is porous.
These are facts, not political spin. I am calling on responsible Democratic members of Congress to put aside partisan politics for the greater good of America, and the world, and work with Republicans and the Trump administration to secure the border. Time is not on our side to take action to protect our border officials and the greater public from the health hazards there.