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No, the surge in Covid cases across the U.S. is not due to migrants or immigrants

As the delta variant contributes to a surge of Covid-19 cases around the United States, different voices have emerged blaming people entering the country — in particular, migrants crossing the U.S. border — for the spread.

Among the most vocal are Republican Govs. Greg Abbott in Texas and Ron DeSantis in Florida.

Abbott has repeatedly blamed undocumented immigrants for the rise in Covid-19 cases in the state and issued an executive order to limit the transport of migrants in Texas who may transmit the virus. The Justice Department called the order “dangerous and unlawful”; a judge temporarily blocked it.

DeSantis, for his part, blamed President Joe Biden for importing the virus from around the world “by having a wide open southern border.”

“You have over 100 different countries where people are pouring through,” DeSantis said Aug. 4. “Not only are they letting them through, they’re then farming them out all across our communities across this country, putting them on planes, putting them on buses.”

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds voiced a similar view in late July, claiming that while Americans grapple with Covid restrictions, there are “people coming across the border that haven’t been vaccinated.”

Last week, while discussing the possibility of ordering the use of masks in schools, members of school boards from two counties in North Carolina accused undocumented immigrants of causing the increase in Covid-19 cases in the country, The Charlotte Observer reported.

In addition, about one-third of unvaccinated citizens believe foreigners traveling to the U.S. are the cause of the increase in coronavirus infections, according to an Axios-Ipsos survey published Aug. 3.

But there’s no evidence to support these types of accusations. While it is true that people entering the country without permission could be contributing to the overall number of Covid-19 cases — as has been the case recently in McAllen, Texas — experts believe the impact of these cases does not make a difference in the American health situation.

Not migration, but low vaccination rates

It is not migratory patterns that explain the recent outbreaks of Covid-19, but the low vaccination rates in certain states, Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University School of Medicine, told Noticias Telemundo.

“In some states, it isn’t clear that there is very much migration right now at all, although there are big outbreaks,” Caplan said. “As far as I know, the migration patterns in the past month are more north than south. That does not correlate at all.”

The 10 states with the highest rates of Covid-19 infections in the past seven days are located in the South, including in Florida and Texas, where DeSantis and Abbott are preventing schools from mandating masks amid rising Covid-19 cases among children — though some schools and districts are defying the governors and requiring masks.

Although immigrants may be contributing to the overall Covid-19 case numbers, Caplan said the increase in infections and current outbreak patterns across the country are actually in response to policies that discourage the use of masks, vaccinations and the isolation of Covid-19 patients.

Take the example of Mississippi, one of the five states with the lowest percentages of undocumented immigrants in the country, according to estimates by the Pew Research Center. It’s currently the state with the lowest vaccination rate nationally — and it ranked third in Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people last week. In Mississippi, less than 36 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, according to government data.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that contrary to what DeSantis has said, the state’s Covid-19 surge is due to its low vaccination rate. 

“Florida is really one of the worst in the sense of the number of new cases and the number of hospitalizations,” Fauci told a CBS local newscast in Tampa, Florida. “This is fundamentally an outbreak, a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and given the relative lower level of vaccinations in Florida compared to some of the other states, you are much more vulnerable.”

For Caplan, blaming immigrants — undocumented or not — for the recent outbreaks of Covid-19 is not only wrong, but “racist.”

“There is a very long history in the United States, sadly, of blaming recent immigrants,” Caplan said. “They are always trying to blame outsiders for ‘diseases,’ and there isn’t any evidence, particularly right now, when we know why there are big outbreaks in the South.”

“I don’t see anything except racism and bigotry behind pointing the finger at immigrants,” Caplan added. 

William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, recently told PolitiFact that given the extensive transmission already in the U.S., “the immigration contribution is akin to pouring a bucket of water into a swimming pool.”

“It’s hard to measure and pretty trivial,” Schaffner said.

The borders are not open

Another false claim that’s been repeated around Covid-19 is that the country’s borders are wide open and anyone can enter, just as DeSantis put it. That is not the case.

In March 2020, the U.S. closed its land borders with Mexico and Canada to nonessential travel such as tourism. The measure has been extended on a monthly basis since then.

In addition, since the end of January, federal health authorities have required a negative Covid-19 test for international travelers, including citizens and residents, who arrive in the United States by air.

On the southern border, U.S. Border Patrol has expelled 750,000 people who have crossed into the U.S., even those seeking asylum, under a public health order, known as Title 42, first put in effect by former President Donald Trump and now maintained by the Biden administration.

On July 30, the U.S. resumed fast-track deportation flights of migrant families that recently arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border, taking them to Central America or southern Mexico.

The number of people currently arriving at the southern border is the highest in decades. Border Patrol detained nearly 180,000 migrants in June, the highest number since March 2000.

The Biden administration has expelled fewer people who have migrated to the U.S. than the Trump administration: While in December, 85 percent of those who were detained were expelled from the country, in June that figure was 58 percent, the lowest since the Covid-19 pandemic began. 

But this does not mean all the people who managed to stay continue their way into the country. Of the 75,000 immigrants without legal status detained in June who were not expelled, just over half remain in the custody of federal or local authorities; some are transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and others end up under police or sheriff custody, as they had pending matters with the justice system.

The rest are released with the order to appear before an immigration court months later.

A version of this story was first published in Noticias Telemundo.

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Pop mogul Simon Cowell was a racing flop with ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec – that didn’t win a penny

SIMON COWELL conquered the music world – but his foray into racing ended in disaster with an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec.

The music mogul, 62, has done it all with bands like One Direction, Little Mix and solo acts Olly Murs and James Arthur, to name but a few.

Cowell owned an 'awful' £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec - but the runner didn't win a single penny in six races

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Cowell owned an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec – but the runner didn’t win a single penny in six racesCredit: PA:Press Association
Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

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Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

His Syco label – plus shows such as Britain’s Got Talent – have dominated the entertainment industry and brought him an estimated net worth of £385m.

A lover of Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, he looked perfectly poised to strike a knockout blow in the world of thoroughbreds.

But it turns out his runner was far from No1 in the charts – and never even finished better than fifth during a doomed six-race career.

Things looked promising at the start.

Named It’s A Yes From Me, the runner was trained with the respected James Fanshawe and sent off at 8-1 for his first race in June 2014.

But coming last of five by 13-and-a-half lengths was unfortunately about as good as it got for the gelding.

A month’s rest followed before he was sent off at 40-1 in a six-furlong sprint at Doncaster.

But there he could only manage fifth again, and it was same at Redcar the next month.

‘Dreadfully slow’

By October that year – with further finishes of sixth and tenth – It’s A Yes From Me came second-last in a one-mile race at Kempton.

One analysis of the race warned punters the horse was ‘one to tread carefully’ with.

Well, Cowell and Ant and Dec took that advice to heart as they never raced him again.

The horse was penniless from six races, never finishing high enough to recoup some of that £35,000 investment.

It’s doubtful Cowell, with hundreds of millions in the bank, lost any sleep over that.

But Ant and Dec revealed just how bad things has got with the horse during an interview last year.

Dec said of It’s A Yes From Me: “It was awful, it was a dreadfully slow horse.

“It wasn’t a racehorse it was just a horse, because it didn’t race.

“Every time we got to the BGT studio Simon would say, ‘I keep paying stable fees on this horse, but I’ve never seen it run’.”

Cowell originally wanted to name the nag after himself, but they settled on It’s A Yes From Me when they bought it in 2013.

‘It was awful’

Dec revealed its eventual fate: “I think it got rehomed.”

Of course it’s not all been bad for Cowell at the races.

He was one of the exclusive few at the Epsom Derby in June, having a great time with partner Lauren Silverman and Piers Morgan.

And two weeks later he was at Royal Ascot – where he first discovered his love of racing.

Cowell told SunSport’s Matt Chapman during a chat at Epsom: “I’ve got my son Eric with me today.

“My mum and dad years ago used to take me to Ascot and I was probably about his age – seven or eight.

Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this year

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Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this yearCredit: Getty
It's A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races

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It’s A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races
The music supremo tweeted about his horse's bad start... which never got much better

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The music supremo tweeted about his horse’s bad start… which never got much better

Most read in Horse Racing

“So the fact I can now bring him to the races as well is brilliant. It brings back a lot of good memories.

“Making TV shows is my passion. But racing is actually my second passion.”

He hasn’t made that passion the money-maker his music label is, but don’t rule out Cowell staging his own comeback at the track in the near future.

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Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org

Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
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Minnesota wildfire doubles in size, creates its own weather

A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota more than doubled in size Tuesday, growing to more than 19,000 acres, after it produced pyrocumulous clouds that generated lightning and even raindrops, fire officials said.

The Greenwood Fire’s growth, most of which happened Monday afternoon, prompted firefighters to leave McDougal Lake, about 80 miles south-southwest of Duluth, officials said. Authorities fear that structures might have been destroyed or damaged.

“We had crews embedded, and as this fire took off, it was quite an effort to communicate with forces on the ground so they could get out,” said federal fire incident spokesman Clark McCreedy.

The pullout was a success, and no injuries were reported. However, downed trees and necessary cleanup mean crews have been unable to assess damage around the lake, McCreedy said.

In addition to the firefighter pullout, 159 dwellings were evacuated Monday, according to an update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Cabins, homes and recreational sites remain under threat, the group said.

Patrick Prochaska, a Minneapolis resident who built a cabin near McDougal Lake in 2012, told NBC affiliate KARE that he watched via security camera as flames mostly bypassed his property Monday, causing minor damage.

“I was feeling very scared,” he said. “At the same time, I could see that it was not doing anything to the house, and it was kind of reassuring.”

The fire in and north of Superior National Forest has mostly performed according to the weather, fire officials said. On Monday, with dry fuel on the ground and temperatures in the high 80s, it was an expanding inferno punctuated by strobes of lightning.

“The winds were drawn into the fire from all directions,” the incident’s fire behavior analyst, Michael Locke, said in a video update Tuesday. “It created what we call pyrocumulous clouds. And really high in the atmosphere … you’d see a thunderstorm, and in fact they went high enough to produce a few sprinkles of rain and even some lightning.”

Temperatures dipped into the mid-70s Tuesday, and the blaze mellowed. “The real story was cloud cover and cooler temperatures,” McCreedy said.

More of the same, and possibly rain, was in the forecast, giving officials hope that they might be able to close the book on an unusually active and dry fire season in Minnesota.

Experts have said climate change has set the stage for extreme weather, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere.

Firefighters — 426 were assigned to the Greenwood event — have been confronted with “prolonged, severe drought,” making parts of Minnesota look like the fire-prone West this summer, McCreedy said.

The Greenwood Fire, which was detected Aug. 15, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.

So far, firefighters have scored no containment, and areas including McDougal Lake, Sand Lake and the Highway 2 corridor have been under mandatory evacuation orders. The federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed Saturday “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources,” the National Forest Service said in a notice.

Officials set a goal of Sept. 1 for full containment.

“We’re probably going to get more of that moderating weather for the rest of the week,” McCreedy said. “That opens the door for fire crews to make progress on the ground.”

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Hiker survives grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park

A tourist from Indiana was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Monday night, park officials said.

The 55-year-old tourist, whose name was not released, was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a mother bear and multiple cubs charged him from nearby bushes, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.

He had puncture wounds to a calf, his left ribs and his left shoulder, the agency said.

The victim used bear spray that might have cut the attack short, the park service indicated. He walked 1.5 miles to a visitor’s center where “medical personnel” vacationing at Denali treated him as a park bus driver called 911, it said.

The hiker was taken to a medical center near the park before he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 120 miles away, park officials said. He was stabilized at the Fairbanks hospital, they said.

“Due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack, there are no plans to locate the bear involved,” the park service said. “Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised. There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, fewer than 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48, but they thrive, comparatively, in Alaska, where they have a population of about 31,000.

The backcountry area of the attack is closed for one week as a precaution, the park service said.

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