April 18, 2023 | 8:34 p.m.
New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan announced last week that the influx of migrants from the southern border was bringing contagious diseases.
Ready for another pandemic?
New York City’s health commissioner announced last week that the influx of migrants from the southern border – more than 50,000 for New York City alone in the past year – is transmitting communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and poliomyelitis, to our neighborhoods.
The same disease threats also endanger other migrant destinations, including California, Texas and Florida.
In a letter to physicians and health care administrators across the city, Commissioner Ashwin Vasan explained, “Many newcomers to New York have lived in or traveled to countries with high rates of TB. .
Tuberculosis, short for tuberculosis, is a bacterial infection. It is treatable with antibiotics, but it usually takes six to nine months of medication to recover. Not a walk in the park.
Tuberculosis spreads through the air, like the flu or the common cold.
Stand next to someone with TB on a long subway ride or sit next to them every day at school and you can catch them.
New York’s tuberculosis rate, at 6.1 cases per 100,000, is more than double the national rate.
Nearly nine in 10 (88%) of these TB cases are people born outside the United States.
Every neighborhood in the city has had at least one case.
Commissioner Vasan’s letter called on New York to do everything possible to provide migrants with health care, food and legal services.
Not a word about protecting the people who already live here.
The opening of borders imports the disease.
Immigrants who legally apply for a visa must undergo health screenings and show that they are vaccinated, and refugees are screened for tuberculosis before entering the United States.
This is not the case for those crossing the Rio Grande.
Nationwide, at least 6,009 of the 8,300 people with TB in 2022 were foreign-born, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Florida has been hit with a 21% increase in tuberculosis since 2020.
Texas border counties have a tuberculosis rate three times the national average.
At least TB is treatable. Polio, on the other hand, can paralyze you for life.
Time will tell how much of a threat the return of poliomyelitis poses.
In the 1940s and early 1950s, thousands of Americans were permanently crippled by it, but vaccines put an end to that nightmare.
The last confirmed case in New York dates back to 1990.
That is, until last summer, when an unvaccinated Rockland County man became crippled by polio.
His illness probably originated in another country.
Vasan warns that only 50% of migrants who flock to the Big Apple are vaccinated.
But an even bigger problem is the type of vaccine used in many poor countries, which can actually spread polio.
The United States only uses injectable polio vaccines made with dead virus that cannot spread the disease.
But many other countries use a less safe oral vaccine that contains live virus and is sometimes excreted in the stool of the vaccinated person.
It can then spread through sewage and onto dirty hands, causing cases of vaccine-derived polio.
It’s a problem in 25 countries.
Polio found in New York City sewage matches strains of polio caused by oral vaccines.
And health officials matched the Rockland man’s polio to those strains.
The Rockland man had not traveled outside of America, but attended a rally where he caught the disease days before his symptoms appeared.
He may have shaken hands or touched contaminated water and been exposed to the virus.
Most troubling, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Rockland County Health Commissioner, warns, “When we see one case of paralytic polio, it means there are probably hundreds and hundreds of cases out there. in the community but are not diagnosed, as 75% of cases are asymptomatic.
Examining the presence of polio in sewage in most parts of the state, former health commissioner Mary Bassett warns that “the danger of polio is present in New York City today.”
Governor Kathy Hochul has temporarily declared a state of emergency.
But Democratic politicians won’t say why this threat to our health emergency is happening.
You can thank the open border policies of the Biden administration.
Tell the Democrats in Washington and Albany that one pandemic was enough.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chair of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths.