Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doesn’t want people to hope that a return to normal life can come anytime soon.
That’s despite rising rates of vaccination, evidence of vaccine efficacy, and declining rates of infection. Walensky said she has a “recurring feeling” of “impending doom” due to COVID-19 variants around the globe that could come to the United States and reignite the pandemic.
The rest of the Biden administration doesn’t seem to take the threat of new COVID-19 variants seriously.
You would think it would put policies in place to limit national exposure while we assess the risks, as many other countries are doing. Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s COVID-19 border and travel policies do the opposite, undermining safety precautions and increasing the risks to all people. Right now, those who travel to the U.S. via air, including citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery to enter. However, those who enter the U.S. via land are neither required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test nor to quarantine upon their arrival. This obviously includes those crossing the border illegally.
Jurisdictions that offer COVID-19 testing report that people coming through the southern border are testing positive between three and 10 times the rate of the rest of the population. Local authorities have said that despite positive test results, these people are traveling to other states. But that’s only the 80 to 100 people a day who are tested. Each day, another untested 500 to 800 overland migrants travel freely. This puts all of us, including the migrants, at risk.
President Joe Biden‘s policies are illogical and inconsistent. Why would you ask people to make sacrifices in their work, social, family, sports, religious, and school lives at the same time you are consciously allowing COVID-19 into the country? From a public health standpoint, there is no reason to impose greater restrictions on people entering the country via airplanes than on those entering over land.
Other developed countries recognize the importance of having safe and sensible policies aimed at controlling COVID-19 and its variants. Countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom have testing and quarantine requirements. In fact, to drive into Canada, all travelers over 5 years old are required to provide proof of a negative test and then quarantine for a minimum of 14 days, even if their subsequent COVID-19 tests are negative. The Biden administration should implement COVID-19 screening procedures that are consistent with its statements about the risks we face.
Members of Congress are well aware of this threat. Yet House Democrats blocked proposed legislation that sought to implement mandatory COVID-19 testing. The REACT Act would have required migrants to test negative for COVID-19 before being released into the U.S.
Citizens, as well as those who hope to one day call the U.S. home, deserve safe border policies that respect the enormous sacrifices we have already made and continue to make to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. The Biden administration must act to ensure that every person who comes to the U.S. is tested for COVID-19 before being allowed to enter and travel freely.