There’s no more important time to secure the Southern border, writes John Daniel Davidson in The Federalist. Mexico is about to see an explosion of coronavirus cases thanks to a policy by the Mexican government that has essentially ignored the virus for weeks. Davidson writes:
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador repeatedly dismissed the need for caution, urging Mexicans to go shopping and eat out. He even took his own advice, staging large campaign-style rallies, kissing babies, embracing supporters, and saying things like, “You have to hug, nothing is going to happen.”
Well, now something is happening. On Monday, Mexico declared a state of emergency as the number of confirmed cases exceeded 1,000, with at least 28 deaths and counting. The number of actual cases is no doubt far higher (by Tuesday, the total was more than 1,200) but because Mexico has not scaled up testing like other countries have, and appears to have little capacity to do so, we don’t really know the extent of the outbreak. Experts estimate only about 10,000 people have been tested so far nationwide—one of the lowest testing rates in the world.
Mexico ordered schools and most government offices closed last week, and on Tuesday expanded the shutdown to all “non-essential” activities and businesses, while prohibiting gatherings of more than 100 people. But the order, which will stay in effect until the end of April, appears to be largely voluntary, with no enforcement mechanisms or penalties. It is almost certainly too little, too late.
Government officials have been pleading with the public to stay indoors, with mixed results. In Mexico City, a metropolis of some 20 million people, the shutdown is being observed inconsistently. Wealthier neighborhoods, whose residents can afford to stay home, have gone mostly quiet in recent days, while poorer neighborhoods and markets largely have carried on with business as usual.
Only now are Mexican authorities beginning to take the threat of the virus seriously.