In response to what experts say is a disproportionately rising number of COVID-19 cases in San Diego amid an outbreak across the southern border, California officials have asked for the federal government’s help in handling the situation. The requests have prompted President Trump to weigh in publicly, saying that after all that criticism of his hawkish focus on securing the border, California officials are “sooo lucky” that he is their president.
In a letter sent recently to Vice President Mike Pence, who is heading up the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services, San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar requested assistance in a variety of ways, including instituting temperature checks at the border, requiring triage and isolation for anyone with a temperature over 100 degrees, and forcing all non-essential crossers to carry out a 14-day quarantine.
“We need the help of the federal government to be vigilant in working with our neighbors to the south to contain their current outbreak while protecting the health and safety of our own residents,” Gaspar wrote.
— Kristin Gaspar (@KristinDGaspar) April 25, 2020
“Gaspar said she thinks, on average, about 10 coronavirus border-related cases are added to San Diego hospitals each day,” Voices of San Diego notes. Meanwhile, South Bay city mayors have called for “more testing and contact tracing” to help curb the spread of the virus, the outlet reports.
In a separate letter sent last week, Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder and Sharp HealthCare COVID‐19 Strategic Response consultant Daniel Gross “urged Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to address the ‘inadequacy of medical resources’” across the border in Baja California, as reported by Times of San Diego.
“Any impression that we are flattening our curve ignores the threat south of the border and the fact that providers in the San Diego region do not have adequate supplies to meet the projections we anticipate as a result of the increasing cases in our border communities,” Gross and Van Gorder warned in their letter.
While a number of factors are impacting the situation, Gross pointed to the crisis in Baja California as particularly problematic for San Diego residents. “I think we can extrapolate the known variables that influence the South Bay experience, and one of those things is Tijuana,” he said.
Dr. Eric McDonald, San Diego County’s epidemiology director, concurs that a significant part of the growing problem appears to be travel across the border.
“There are an increasing number of individuals with recent travel or residing to Baja California who are presenting,” McDonald said at a press conference Wednesday, Voice of San Diego reports. “We are tracking that carefully. It is an increasing trend and is certainly part of the increasing cases being seen in Baja California.”
With all the concern about the impact of the outbreak in Mexico and the increasing cases around the southern border, President Trump highlighted on Monday the difference in tone from California officials about the porous border that he has been trying to lock down from the first day he took office.
“Mexico is sadly experiencing very big CoronaVirus problems, and now California, get this, doesn’t want people coming over the Southern Border. A Classic!” Trump tweeted Monday. “They are sooo lucky that I am their President. Border is very tight and the Wall is rapidly being built!”
Mexico is sadly experiencing very big CoronaVirus problems, and now California, get this, doesn’t want people coming over the Southern Border. A Classic! They are sooo lucky that I am their President. Border is very tight and the Wall is rapidly being built!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2020
Author: James Barrett