Health experts told HuffPost a wall at the southern border is in no way related to preventing the spread of the virus in the U.S.
“We must understand that border security is also health security,” the president said to cheers from the crowd at a reelection campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, one day before the Democratic primary in the state.
“You’ve all seen the wall is going up like magic,” he continued, saying they’d “have 500 miles built by very early next year.”
“We will do everything in our power to keep the infection from entering our country. We have no choice,” Trump said. “Whether it’s the virus that we’re talking about or many other public health threats, the Democrat policy of open borders is a direct threat to the health and well-being of all Americans… Now you see it with the coronavirus.”
“When you have this virus... or any other problem coming in. It’s not the only thing that comes through the border,” Trump said. “And now just using this — so important, right? So important.”
Dr. Celine Gounder — a clinical assistant professor of infectious diseases at New York University and host of the podcast “Epidemic” — said Trump’s remarks “show a real lack of understanding on the way diseases spread.”
“Walls are not going to keep [the virus] out,” Gounder said, noting there were already two cases in California in which those infected had not traveled to any countries experiencing an outbreak or been in contact with anyone known to be infected — meaning these could be the first cases of “community spread” of the virus in the United States.
“There’s no point with approaching this as a borders issue,” Gounder said. “It’s here.”
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a...