Could a border wall proposed by President Donald Trump halt the spread of coronavirus in the United States? The president seems to think so, but healthcare professionals disagree.
At a campaign rally in South Carolina two weeks ago, Trump made the claim that his proposed wall along the southern U.S. border with Mexico could help contain coronavirus from entering the country and spreading even more.
“One of the reasons the [coronavirus] numbers are so good” is because of border security, Trump claimed in his speech. “We will do everything in our power to keep the infection and those carrying the infection from entering our country.”
Trump reiterated the idea in a tweet quoting conservative firebrand Charlie Kirk, who also insisted a border wall could stop the spread of COVID-19. “Going up fast,” Trump responded to Kirk. “We need the Wall more than ever!”
Going up fast. We need the Wall more than ever! https://t.co/7TxErJKAgT
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 10, 2020
But healthcare experts disagree that a wall is an effective strategy to combat the disease’s spread.
“You can’t build a wall high enough to keep this out,” University of Toronto public health ethics professor Alison Thomson said to Al Jazeera this week. “Borders are political barriers, but they are not respected by a virus.”
It appears that the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees with Thomson’s analysis, taking a firm stance against Trump’s assertions.
Appearing before House lawmakers this week, CDC Director Robert Redfield was asked by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) whether any evidence existed that “structural barriers” like a border wall could help prevent the spread of the virus.
“Not that I’ve seen,” Redfield said.
Total number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases at each Tuesday:
Jan. 14 — 0
Jan. 21 — 1
Jan. 28 — 5
Feb. 4 — 11
Feb. 11 — 14
Feb. 18 — 25
Feb. 25 — 59
Mar. 3 — 125
Mar. 10 — 1,004https://t.co/74QzWYbn1p
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) March 11, 2020
Trump’s flawed assessments on coronavirus, including his errantly likening it to the flu or calling criticism of his response to it a “hoax,” have caused others, particularly the president’s most ardent supporters, to not take the spread of the disease seriously. Some have even claimed the virus is entirely made up.
As of Wednesday morning, at least 1,015 cases of coronavirus had been identified within the United States within 38 states, and 31 deaths have resulted from individuals contracting the disease.
Chris Walker is a freelance journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin, who focuses on news, politics, and analysis of world events. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, since 2005 Chris has reported on workers’ rights protests in Wisconsin, opined on four separate presidential elections and written on a number of other political subjects for a variety of national online publications.