Siena College's Student Newspaper


Masks Aren’t the Protection Americans Need to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic is a massive issue that has affected everyone. As a result of this virus, businesses have failed, loved ones have been lost and elementary-aged children have missed out on valuable experiences that are needed to develop lifelong social skills. On Dec. 11, 2020, as children continued to attend school through a computer and many parents worked from a home office, a glimpse of hope appeared as the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered. Before long, nurses and other essential workers began the vaccination process, and soon the general public was able to receive the jab that was supposed to end the mayhem. Life seemed to be getting back to normal, mask mandates were lifted, people were back for work and many colleges were offering a normal in-person experience for those who were vaccinated. Folks thought the virus was defeated but they articulated that thought much too soon.

With the Delta Variant, a new challenge emerged as people are contracting the virus regardless of their vaccination status. As a result, many businesses and academic institutions are implementing mask mandates to stop the spread. While attempting to slow the spread of a virus with a survival rate above 98% is very important, the real protection from this virus doesn’t come from wearing a mask. The real protection comes from a secure Southern border.

Following the political unrest in Haiti, many Hatiatioans have attempted to take refuge in the United States. The estimated 10 to 14 thousand unauthorized immigrants that have attempted to cross the border from Central American nations have caused a crowded southern border with many people crammed under bridges like sardines in a can—a breeding ground for the new variant. This concept isn’t speculative either, it’s evident in the data.

According to Worldometer, on Dec. 11, 2020 (the day that the first Pfizer vaccine was administered) there were 245,102 active cases of COVID-19 in the United States. That number fell drastically by Feb. 19, 2021, when it was announced that there were more Americans who had received at least one dose of the vaccine than citizens who were infected with the virus. The number of active cases continued to drop throughout the spring and summer months as more Americans became fully vaccinated. The steady decline in active cases continued until the beginning of August, a month where daily active cases began to rise into the 100,000’s once again.

The direct correlation between the increase in active cases and illegal immigration became evident when Forbes reported that in August, the United States Border patrol had apprehended over 6,000 refugees from Hati alone. A number that was substantially larger than the number of apprehended illegals from Haiti in July (less than 5,000 illegals) and in May (approximately 2,700 illegals). This relation between rising illegal immigration and an increased number of COVID-19 cases can be further supported by data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. According to their website, the agency encountered 208,8887 illegal aliens attempting to enter the United States in August alone. During that same month, COVID-19 cases grew in the United States despite more citizens being vaccinated than ever before (and if those were the people they saw, imagine how many people entered unnoticed). How could COVID-19 cases reach levels that are comparable to times in the United States before a vaccine was created? Only one answer seems appropriate: unvaccinated and unauthorized refugees.

If the United States had a secure Southern Border and a coherent president that took this issue seriously, illegal immigrants would not be an issue, and the COVID-19 curve would remain flat in the United States.

So what is the solution? My research has produced a simple yet dark solution: border patrol agents. These agents must scan the area day and night and eliminate anyone who attempts to enter the U.S. illegally. While this idea may seem insensitive to some, I see no issue. Legal immigration is the way to enter; all else is criminal. Eliminating those who attempt to enter the country illegally will not only decrease illegal immigration but will encourage legal avenues for obtaining citizenship and/or refuge. After implementing this strategy, I believe that illegal immigration numbers will drop, aliens will realize that this behavior is unacceptable and any future attempts made will result in grave consequences. As a result of this new fear, aliens will opt for the legal immigration route: a win-win for both.

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