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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Viral migration: A new coronavirus variant crosses the border

Human beings migrate, and so do the illnesses they carry. It should not be surprising that with masses of immigrants crossing the U.S. southern border virtually unrestricted, the battle to control coronavirus cases has proved disturbingly daunting. The Biden administration has downplayed an apparent connection between the spread of people and pestilence, but the link is becoming harder to ignore.

The battle to defeat COVID-19 has been marked by both hope and despair. First, the good news: The newest form of the COVID-19 virus, dubbed “Mu” and labeled by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant “of interest,” is “not an immediate threat,” says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Of course, he gave similar assurances about the original virus in January 2020. It went on to mutate into forms that together have killed 651,000 Americans. “Good news” is subject to change.

Now for the bad news: “The Mu variant is found to have key mutations linked to greater transmissibility and the potential to evade antibodies,” according to the County of Los Angeles Public Health. If those antibodies are the very same products of the highly touted trio of coronavirus vaccines the administration is promoting, it could bode ill for many more Americans. 

Further study is required before concluding that the Mu variant is more contagious and lethal. The fact that the new strain has been detected in every U.S. state except for Nebraska, according to Outbreak.info, suggests that it transmits nearly as easily as gossip on Twitter.

The WHO has traced the origin of the Mu variant to Colombia and Ecuador, where it first appeared in January. The mutation is particularly virulent in Colombia, where the health organization says it comprises nearly 40 percent of cases.

That’s more bad news because hundreds of thousands of immigrants – Colombians and Ecuadorians among them – have joined a human tidal wave of migration washing through Central America and into the United States. Lawful international travelers are increasingly required to carry vaccine passports. However, when Mr. Biden announced on Thursday a sweeping federal mandate designed to boost the proportion of vaccinated Americans, he made no mention of similar requirements for illegal immigrants, with whom the virus can easily hitch a ride.

The Biden administration has largely left it to ill-prepared border towns to conduct COVID-19 tests on the countless thousands being distributed throughout the nation. It is no wonder that the Mu variant rooted in South America is beginning to flourish in North America.

Leaders are not immune from errors in judgment, and mistakes made in good faith are forgivable. But the hazards of President Biden’s immigration policies are too glaring to regard as blunders. The immigration-borne spread of COVID-19 can only be seen as a calculated consequence of the president’s open-borders policy. The Mu variant may yet become “an immediate threat.”

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