Starting as early as April, states that had taken steps to limit businesses and enforce social distancing began to “reopen” with strong encouragement from Donald Trump. Truthfully, it’s not that Donald Trump pushed states to reopen too soon. It’s that Trump never encouraged states to lock down in the first place. Now, just weeks after restrictions began to be removed, more than 20 states are showing the predictable results: a spike in COVID-19 cases, limited remaining hospital beds, and fresh concerns over everything from protective gear to respirators.
The states where cases are rising most quickly including Texas—which is currently racking up new cases faster than at any point in the pandemic—and Arizona, where 80% of ICU beds are already occupied as new cases come in before older cases have recovered. But no matter how much danger there is of the healthcare system being overwhelmed, Trump has already made it clear that he’s not backing any attempts to slow or roll back reopening. Instead, Trump has another solution to fighting the second wave of COVID-19. It’s called “build that wall.”
That’s right: Trump is blaming new cases of COVID-19 on Mexico.
As of Thursday morning, there were well over 2 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and 116,000 Americans have died from the disease. Mexico was far down the list of nations affected, with 133,000 cases and 15,000 deaths. The idea that cases imported from Mexico might be contributing significantly to the American total seems not just ridiculous, but determinedly xenophobic—especially considering that most early cases in Mexico could be directly connected to people coming from the United States.
But of course Trump is pretending that new cases in the United States are coming from Mexico. After all, Trump has long included “disease” on the list of terrible things that might come from immigrants crossing the southern border. During his 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly made statements that included things like “tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border," and said that immigrants were bringing “large scale crime and disease."
As CBS reports, the strategy decision to blame Mexico was “discussed at some length during a meeting of the administration's coronavirus task force.” Of course, those same officials also recognize that the outbreaks are happening in practically every state where social distancing guidelines have been relaxed, and that “circumstances likely differ by location.” The report does not say whether any medical doctors or scientists on the team were present for this discussion.
Of course, what he’s saying doesn’t have to be true. After all, Trump’s claims about “crime and disease” were never true. But this new theory is getting introduced just in time for Trump to mention it at his Juneteenth travesty in Tulsa. Then he can sit back and listen to the chants.
Posted with permission from Daily Kos.