While the media and partisans criticize every aspect of President Trump’s handling of this current pandemic, we should applaud Trump’s clear success – his January “ban” on Chinese travel to the U.S., and later restrictions on travel from Europe.
These restrictions certainly slowed the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) but have been roundly criticized by many, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who has called Trump’s policies “xenophobic.” Biden said “Banning all travel from … any other part of the world — will not stop it.”
Biden is not alone. According to the House Foreign Affairs Committee website, Democratic Rep. Eliot L. Engel, stated at the February 5th “Wuhan Coronavirus” hearing, “These measures have not proven to improve public health outcomes, rather they tend to cause economic harm and to stoke racist and discriminatory responses to this epidemic.”
Democratic Rep. Ami Bera also criticized Trump’s travel ban. He told Politico the decision to impose travel restrictions “probably doesn’t make sense” adding. “At this juncture, it’s going to be very hard to contain the virus.”
However, on ABC News “This Week“, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health, and now the chief medical advisor to the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, said the Trump administration’s decision to restrict travel from China in January slowed the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus in the United States.
The success of Trump’s rapid China travel restrictions has also been confirmed by the unfortunate case of Italy. Dr. Fauci said Thursday that Italy has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic because the country hosted thousands of Chinese tourists in recent months.
“Before they even knew what was going on, there was enough baseline people spreading that it essentially got out of hand, and it became difficult for them, as good as they are, and they’re very good, to be able to contain it,” Dr. Fauci said on CNN.
The role of international travel, and the need to restrict it during the early stages of an outbreak, has now been reinforced by another unfortunate case – New York City, which Dr. Fauci notes is “getting hit terribly hard.” This is due in part to the fact that New York City is a travel hub that experiences an “influx of travelers,” Dr. Fauci said.
“New York City reported 100 new deaths from the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 385 as the number of infections topped 37,200,” according to Yahoo News.
All this data shows that international travel, especially from China initially, was critical to the Wuhan Virus’s rapid spread to certain countries and cities.
Had the Chinese Communist Party admitted it had a serious outbreak a few weeks earlier, rather than cover it up and allow five million Chinese travelers to leave Wuhan by January, as reported by Business Insider, the world may have been spared a pandemic.
Trump may not be doing everything “perfectly” in his handling of this crisis, but he was right to quickly restrict travel from China in January, and more recently from Europe. Border security saves lives.
Paul Crespo is a defense and national security expert. He served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. He holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. Paul is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and a Contributor to American Defense News.
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