Miami, Oct 3 (EFE).- The US government’s main epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Sunday rejected the majority belief among voting Republicans that infected immigrants and tourists are the main cause of the new wave of Covid-19 cases in this country.
In an interview with CNN, Fauci denied that the arrival of thousands of migrants on the US-Mexican border is behind the increase in infections around the country, although many GOP leaders have been claiming that in recent months.
“This is not driven by immigrants,” said Fauci. “This is the problem within our country the same way it’s a problem with other countries throughout the world.”
“The idea, when you have 700,000 Americans dead and millions and millions and millions of Americans getting infected, you don’t want to look outside to the problem. The problem is within our own country, certainly immigrants can get infected but they’re not the driving force of this. Let’s face reality here,” he said.
Fauci’s comments came as a result of a survey released on Sept. 28 by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) that found that 55 percent of Republicans believe that immigrants and tourists bringing Covid-19 to the US is the main reason behind the increasing number of cases, many of which are occurring in “red” (Republican) states where large portions of the population have not gotten themselves vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Among Americans overall, 37 percent of the people surveyed said that they were convinced that these two groups were operating as vectors of infection, although 62 percent of those surveyed said that people not taking sufficient precautions to avoid getting sick is a basic factor in the recent spike in cases and 58 percent said that too many people are refusing to get vaccinated and 58 percent acknowledged that the Delta variant is more contagious.
But Republicans, in general, seem to think that immigrants and tourists are the main cause of the recent Covid wave, with just 41 percent saying that the Delta variant’s increased infectiousness is the root cause and 40 percent saying that the infection spike is occurring because the vaccines are “not as effective” as scientists initially thought.
Given these beliefs among a large swath of Republicans, Fauci said that when one looks at the factual data about who is getting sick with – and dying from – Covid-19, there is “absolutely (no)” direct relationship between the spike and the arrival of migrants and tourists in the US.
But conservative leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have repeatedly blamed the massive arrival of migrants along the southern border for the increase in Covid cases in their states.
When questioned about Title 42, a measure that allows immigration authorities to immediately deport or expel a good portion of the undocumented migrants who are crossing the US border, Fauci said he did not want to get into discussing this controversial measure, saying he was not familiar with its complexities, but he did add that “focusing on immigrants, expelling them or what have you, is not the solution to an outbreak.”
Title 42 was implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, because of it, some 950,000 immigrants of the 1.5 million who have been detained on the southern border since October 2020 have been expelled from the US.
On Friday, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said that the agency is “reevaluating” Title 42, which has been harshly criticized by civil rights groups but has been kept in effect by the Joe Biden administration, continuing to follow the course set by former President Donald Trump who, according to press reports, imposed it with an eye toward sealing off the border to immigration.