Will Donald Trump win the 2024 election?
Investigation by James Varney originally published by RealClearInvestigations and RealClearWire
Successful public health campaigns and medical advances have enabled the United States to conquer a range of disfiguring and damaging diseases. Polio, which paralyzed thousands of Americans annually, was wiped out by widespread vaccinations. In 1999 the nation’s last hospital for lepers closed its doors in Louisiana. A global campaign eradicated smallpox, while lethal tuberculosis, the “consumption” that stalked characters in decades of literature, seemed beaten by antibiotics. Measles outbreaks still occur from time to time, but they are small, local, and easily contained.
Recently, however, some of these forgotten but still formidable infectious diseases have begun to reappear in the U.S. For two years running, polio has been detected in some New York water samples, and this fall, leprosy re-emerged in Florida, where cases of malaria have also been recorded.
Health officials say they are not sure why these and other infectious diseases are resurfacing. One distinct possibility, which officials are loath to discuss, is that the millions of migrants who have crossed into the country in recent years could be bringing the scourges with them, since many are from countries where such rare diseases persist and vaccination programs are not robust.
“The recent polio and leprosy cases are almost certainly imports to the U.S.,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a physician and scientist at Stanford University, one of the most outspoken critics of official COVID-19 narratives in the last pandemic that later proved flawed.
And the Biden administration, an aggressive promoter of often mandatory vaccination last time, now is offering little public comment on the connection between disease and the porous borders with which its immigration policy has become widely identified.
Neither the Centers for Disease Control nor the Department of Homeland Security would discuss the issue with RealClearInvestigations. Legal immigrants are required to receive vaccinations for a host of diseases, but the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged it does not have vaccination records for the millions who have entered the U.S. since the Biden administration relaxed border controls upon taking office in January 2021.
“It’s not like there is some Typhoid Mary out there, but this is something people are seeing and thinking about, even if they don’t want to discuss it publicly,” said Art Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies, which opposes the Biden administration’s border policies.
The reticence of federal agencies has not stopped some local officials, however, from raising public health alarms over massive immigration. New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan warned in April that at least half of the migrants who have poured into the city had not been vaccinated against polio. The potentially paralyzing and life-threatening virus remains endemic in two countries in the world, Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the World Health Organization. Since President Biden ordered what proved to be a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, an estimated 90,000 Afghans have come to the U.S. under the terms of Operation Allies Welcome.
It is not clear if those migrants met the polio vaccination requirement. DHS did not respond to a question about whether medical histories were reviewed in the fast-tracked entry of Afghans who got out of their country before the Taliban reimposed its control.
Vasan’s warning pointed directly to the southern border, which has seen record-shattering arrivals on the Biden administration’s watch.
“More than 50,000 people have come to New York City in the past year shortly after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border,” he wrote in an 11-page letter. “I am writing now to underscore how critical it is that health care providers take a wide range of considerations into account when working with people who are seeking asylum.”
Citing outbreaks of chickenpox in shelters for illegal immigrants, Vasan also noted the arrival of newcomers who either began their journey in a country where tuberculosis is present or passed through such countries en route to the U.S.
The New York City Health Department did not respond to questions from RealClearInvestigations or to a request to speak with Dr. Vasan, but the numbers have only grown since he sent his letter. Since spring 2022, more than 100,000 migrants had arrived in the city, and more than 67,200 were living in taxpayer-funded housing at the end of November, according to the New York Times.
Last year, the first recorded polio case in the U.S. since 2013 was diagnosed in New York State, with the victim described only as an “unvaccinated man.” Also in 2022, poliovirus was found in the water supply of four New York counties, including Long Island, and New York City. Another positive test result was recorded in Rockland County this year, according to the state.
In the U.S., polio vaccinations remain part of “the routine childhood immunization process” under which the CDC recommends four doses. Adults who grew up in the U.S. are vaccinated, the agency said.
The last occurrence prior to the New York diagnosis had been in 1979. Since November 2022, the CDC has begun wastewater testing for the poliovirus, so long extinct in the U.S., in selected areas, but the agency did not respond to questions about those investigations. It does provide information on COVID and monkeypox, the latter a disease that primarily afflicts the gay population.
A thorough investigation, exploring all avenues of transmission and trying to source a virus to its root, is common among virus hunters, and the idea that millions of people coming to the U.S. could inadvertently carry with them some infectious disease is but one possibility. For example, thus far researchers have been unable to pinpoint where the infamous Ebola virus originates in equatorial Africa.
Read the entire investigation here.
Investigation by James Varney – This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.