As the end of the deadly Ebola virus approaches, Donald Trump was already pushing long before Friday to declare a national emergency. He proposed a global ban on allowing Muslims into the U.S. when he was not even president.
Trump even crossed the line several years ago by downplaying Ebola and singling out groups targeted by the virus, calling Christians at risk “the greatest terrorists.”
After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Obama attempted to prevent travel to the United States of refugees from certain countries, in some cases a ploy to curtail the influx of Syrian refugees to the U.S. That was voted down by the American people, but not before the threat of an outbreak in the U.S. forced both houses of Congress to reject the president’s bill.
As the Trump administration repeatedly fails to win congressional approval for its agenda and protects the “nuclear option” to end filibusters, threats are again afoot to declare a national emergency at the border, as Fox News reports:
Top lawmakers in both parties have privately told The New York Times they are preparing legislation to allow President Trump to declare a national emergency at the Mexican border and invoke emergency powers to build a massive wall.
Many Trump allies are ready to get behind such an emergency declaration, the Times reports.
Is it true that America could be hit by a major worldwide pandemic if Trump declares a national emergency at the border?
Officials and experts suggested that it could happen, but they stress that it is unlikely any major outbreak would arise at the border in the near future. For one thing, the closest to the border is Kansas City, Missouri. There have been dozens of dengue fever cases detected along the border during the past several years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 3 Americans will get a mosquito-borne infection over the next 10 years. The public health agency said they expect an increase in West Nile virus, Chikungunya and Zika cases this year, and more than 1,200 dengue cases in 2016.
“You can’t just assume something would suddenly appear across the border,” said Dr. Bill Novelli, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, during a news conference in April 2016.
Former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden testified in Congress that the threat of a pandemic was low due to various factors including the shortage of certain supplies and the rapid removal of infected Americans from the country. “There is no explicit risk for a significant outbreak at the border,” Frieden said.
Billions of dollars have been spent since the Ebola outbreak over the past five years to battle the disease. You might think there’s a much greater risk of the disease in the United States.
Perhaps more importantly, a major U.S. disaster in the last half-century would require massive government resources.
The recent deadly earthquake in Mexico dwarfs the numbers of infectious diseases, and what needs to be done now for that nation is to get patients in the trauma intensive care units and prevent unnecessary infections.
There’s a reason why experts stress that Americans should never panic about a pandemic.
There are roughly 18,000 miles of border between the United States and Mexico. While there are things you can do to stay safe, the best strategy is to stay inside. It is widely believed that everyone will be at greater risk from smallpox, flu, measles and other vaccines if they leave their homes.
The U.S. has prepared for pandemics over the years, but they haven’t been a high priority for public health officials.