April 18, 2023 | 8:34 PM
New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan announced last week that an influx of migrants from the southern border is bringing about an epidemic.
Are you ready for another pandemic?
The New York City Health Commissioner announced last week that an influx of immigrants from the southern border — more than 50,000 in New York City alone over the past year — is bringing communicable diseases like tuberculosis and polio to the neighborhood.
The same disease threat endangers other migration destinations such as California, Texas and Florida.
In a letter to doctors and health care administrators citywide, Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said, “Many people who recently arrived in New York City lived in or traveled to countries with high tuberculosis rates. There is something,’ he explained.
TB stands for tuberculosis, which is a bacterial infection. It can be treated with antibiotics, but recovery usually requires 6 to 9 months of medication. It’s not a walk in the park.
Tuberculosis is airborne, like the flu or the common cold.
If you stand next to a tuberculosis patient on a long subway ride or sit next to them every day at school, you can catch tuberculosis.
New York City has a tuberculosis incidence of 6.1 per 100,000 people, more than double the national rate.
Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) of these tuberculosis cases were born outside the United States.
Every neighborhood in the city has at least one case.
Commissioner Vasan’s letter called on New York to stop providing all health care, food and legal services to immigrants.
Not a word about protecting those who already live here.
Diseases are imported when borders are opened.
Immigrants who legally apply for a visa must undergo a medical examination and prove they have been vaccinated, and refugees are tested for tuberculosis before entering the United States.
Not so for those crossing the Rio Grande.
At least 6,009 of the 8,300 tuberculosis cases in 2022 were foreign-born, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Florida has been hit hard with a 21% increase in tuberculosis since 2020.
Texas border counties have tuberculosis rates three times higher than the national average.
At least tuberculosis is treatable. Polio, on the other hand, can paralyze you for life.
Only time will tell how big a threat a polio resurgence is.
Thousands of Americans were permanently paralyzed in the 1940s and early 1950s, but vaccines ended that nightmare.
The last confirmed case in New York was in 1990.
That is until last summer, when an unvaccinated Rockland County man was paralyzed with polio.
His illness may have originated in another country.
Vasan warns that only 50% of immigrants entering the Big Apple are vaccinated.
But an even bigger problem is the type of vaccines used in many poor countries that could actually spread polio.
The United States uses only injectable polio vaccines made with dead viruses that do not spread disease.
However, many other countries use less safe oral vaccines containing live virus, which can be excreted in the faeces of vaccinated persons.
It can then spread through sewage and dirty hands, causing vaccine-derived polio cases.
It’s a matter of 25 countries.
Polio found in New York sewers matches a strain of polio caused by an oral vaccine.
And health officials have matched polio in a Rockland man to these strains.
The Rockland man had never traveled outside the United States, but attended a gathering and became ill days before his symptoms began.
He may have been exposed to the virus by shaking hands or touching contaminated water.
Dr. Patricia Schnabel Rupert, Rockland County Health Commissioner, warns of what is most alarming: Some of the cases are asymptomatic. ”
Seeing the presence of polio in sewage in most parts of the state, former Health Commissioner Mary Bassett warns that “There is a polio risk in New York right now.”
Governor Kathy Hochul temporarily declared a state of emergency.
But Democratic politicians won’t talk about why this threat to our health emergency is happening.
I appreciate the open border policy of the Biden administration.
Tell the Democrats in Washington and Albany that one pandemic is enough.
Betsy McCoffee is a former Lieutenant Governor of New York and chair of the Commission to Reduce Infectious Deaths.