This morning a well-known publicity-seeker, Congressman Eric Massa, DNY, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, announced "we need to close our borders to Mexico immediately and completely until this issue is resolved," referring to the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico.
As of this moment there are no known cases of swine flu in the state of Chihuahua (see below), and a quick look at any of several epidemic maps indicates there are a lot more cases in New York City right now than anywhere along the U.S.-Mexico border. Current reports show 10 confirmed cases on the border in California, and none anywhere else on the border, whereas in New York City there are about 50 confirmed cases, 28 in one school alone.
Perhaps in light of what we know at this moment we should ask Congressman Teague to give a speech calling for the closing of the Holland Tunnel between New York and New Jersey (where there are reported cases of swine flu as well), or perhaps just set up roadblocks for all inbound traffic on all the bridges and roads to make sure none of the passengers are sick, which is what happens if you want to come into the U.S. from Juarez. Or stop all airline traffic to the New York airports and, maybe to make sure we are doing everything to protect the good people of New York, we should close the entire U.S.-Canada border, since there are a number of confirmed cases of swine flu in Canada. Gotta make sure the public is protected, you know.
Seriously, Congressman Massa is trotting out the closing of the U.S.-Mexico border once again, at the first sign of a national emergency, a tired and worn out trick that only reveals his contempt for the people of our region, and for the experts who are doing their best to keep up with the epidemic. Massa has none of the responsibilities of the health care officials whose reputations are on the line. But given his position as a congressman he has a ready-made publicity forum, which he is using now, as in the past to promote himself. The Mexican government has behaved with commendable speed, action, and transparency, cooperating with global health officials and the CDC to alert the world about this outbreak. Thousands of health officials in the U.S. and Mexico have been working around the clock to keep it contained. So far the signs are in hopeful directions. What we don't need is a publicity hound like Congressman Massa exploiting this emergency for egotistical purposes.