There are painful lessons here. Hopefully they will be learned next time around. Although history raises some doubts about that.
If you want to stop a pandemic from spreading to your country, start with a travel ban and make it absolutely airtight.
The data shows that 3,200 flights flew from China to the U.S., including more than 1,000 flights that went to Los Angeles and nearly 500 each landed in San Francisco and New York – all three among the eventual hot spots of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. More than 100 flights from China arrived in six other American cities: Chicago, Seattle, Detroit, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Newark, N.J.
According to travel data previously obtained by ABC News, those flights translated to more than 761,000 Chinese nationals entering the U.S. and Americans returning home from the People’s Republic of China during that critical four-month period.
The correct number of Chinese nationals or frankly anyone who had been to China entering the US should have been zero.
Among the flights were 50 direct from Wuhan, the Chinese metropolis where the outbreak is believed to have started. Twenty-seven of those flights went to San Francisco and 23 to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The last flights from Wuhan came in early February, when the Trump Administration imposed restrictions on flights from China to the U.S.
And then, surprisingly, both became hot zones for the virus.
“The United States banned travel to China 12 days after the world heard there was an outbreak of severe pneumonia in Wuhan. … The problem was, it was too late,” said Dr. Todd Ellerin, chief of Infectious Disease at South Shore Health and an ABC News consultant. “Even though there had only been 12 confirmed cases in the U.S. on the day President Trump announces the travel ban, the reality was there were many more unconfirmed cases.”
The problem was that the PRC was lying to its people and to the world. And that raises bigger questions about whether we want free and open travel to and from countries that we simply can’t trust because they’re totalitarian regimes that run on propaganda.
From December through March 30, 353,000 foreign nationals and Americans entered the U.S. from Italy. Another 456,547 came from Spain.
More than 1,400 direct flights from Italy landed in U.S. cities from December to March, including more than 500 in February and March as that country was becoming an international focal point for the worldwide pandemic. Another 2,255 flights from Spain landed in U.S. cities.
The federal government shut down most flights from Europe in mid-March, but by then hundreds of flights from Italy had gone into New York and Miami. Nearly 100 of the Italy-to-Miami flights happened over six weeks in February and early March before the U.S. imposed restrictions. March’s flights from Italy also went to large airports in Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Newark, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio.
Also in March, more than 400 flights left Spain for 12 American cities. Close to half of those flights landed at two New York City region airports: JFK and Newark Liberty. More than 100 went to Miami. Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles each took in at least two dozen direct flights from Spain in March.
The flights directly from China, Italy and Spain reached at least 15 states. Additionally, during the same period, the cities that took in at least 100 flights from China, Italy and Spain were the starting point for flights to every state in the country — potentially exasperating the domestic spread.
That’s also what open border means. It’s not just illegals casually walking into this country. It’s also easy travel to America.
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