Q&A - Are Migrant's Impacting Florida's Surge In COVID-19 Cases?

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Today’s entry: Hi Brian, there seems to be a high incidence of Covid-positive cases in illegal border crossers. Since 70% of crossers are heading for Florida, is there any way of determining how much, if any, of Florida’s increase in Covid positivity is due to this problem?

Bottom Line: You raise a good point and in fact, my dad was asking me the same thing over the weekend. Just one note prior to diving into what happens with border crossers and the potential impact on Florida. We do know that approximately 70% of migrants interdicted by Florida’s 50 law enforcement professionals working at the southern border in Texas have been bused to Florida. We don’t know what the overall total is among all migrants caught and released by Border Patrol. That said, there is no question migrants being bused in could be contributors to Florida’s summer surge in COVID-19 cases

Border Patrol Agents in the field don’t administer COVID-19 tests but they do commonly determine whether migrants receive them. If agents observe symptoms, they’re recommended for testing at the processing centers they’re first sent to which arrange for documents and legal papers. According to Customs and Border Patrol, "CBP personnel conduct initial inspections for symptoms or risk factors associated with COVID-19 and consult with onsite medical personnel". 

So yeah, it really is asymptomatic carriers that are likely never to be detected. Now, those who are tested and are positive are quarantined at the non-profit processing centers working with DHS. All others are quickly bused to their end destinations. 

One of the most notable sources of information regarding migrants being bused across the country, while potentially being COVID-19 positive, comes from Democrat Congressman Henry Cuellar. His district encompasses the Rio Grande Valley. We know that overall positive tests for COVID-19 at that very Rio Grande Valley Sector have risen 900% in July. It stands to reason that if the rise in cases that were detectable have risen so dramatically this month, the number of migrants who’re positive but not tested have also risen significantly. 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

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