LatinaLista — Since news of the continuing spread of the H1N1 influenza virus, the blame game has run rampant among those targeting undocumented Mexican immigrants as spreading the virus. Yet, the evidence proves otherwise.
It’s hard to believe that the world has been in the grips of the H1N1 influenza virus for only less than two weeks. The constant media barrage makes it seem a whole lot longer. Not to mention, the 24/7 media coverage from ground zero of the virus plays nicely into the antics of conservative wingnuts whose favorite sport is making up reasons to turn the tide of public opinion against undocumented Latino immigrants.
It’s not hard to guess who these wingnuts are blaming for the spread of the virus. Yet, when it comes to playing the virus blame game, while it may have started in Mexico it’s clear everyone has had a part in spreading it.
The recent calls for closing the U.S.-Mexico border exemplify the knee-jerk assumption that has made its way across the country and into the halls of Congress.
Otherwise, it would be realized that most of the carriers of the virus into the United States didnâ€™t enter the country swimming across the Rio Grande or trekking through the desert. The likelier carriers of the virus were either hang-gliding over the Pacific Ocean off the Mexican coast, hiking up the Aztec pyramids, window-shopping in the Polanco district of Mexico City or sitting in conference meetings. The usual things tourists, honeymooners and business professionals do when away from home and in Mexico.
In fact, the first large cluster of infections reported outside Mexico was attributed to a group of Canadians who had traveled to Mexico. Since then, stories have emerged of other U.S. victims â€” students at a New York private prep academy, a Marine at Twentynine Palms military base, a World Bank employee who had gone to Mexico on business and returned sick infecting his family, a third-year Harvard dental student, and a member of the presidential advance security team, who had gone to Mexico City to support the U.S. delegation that accompanied the President on his recent trip. The list keeps growing.
Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that there is evidence that the countryâ€™s earliest flu victims in California had â€œno apparent link to either Mexico or pigs.â€ The newspaper is reporting that the California victims may have even been sick before the first Mexicans contracted the virus since the California illness was reported at the end of March.
Itâ€™s reported by the Centers for Disease Control that among the earliest victims in California a different strain of the flu was the culprit rather than what is being seen in Mexico.
Yet, none of these facts are resonating as loudly or getting much airtime as pointing the finger and shoveling the blame onto undocumented Mexican immigrants. The blame game will only get worse as cases rise and the potential for that to happen is getting better every day.
People are getting tired of living in fear that a strangerâ€™s stray cough could infect them. Theyâ€™re tired of what they perceive to be contradicting news about the flu and the mediaâ€™s treatment of it.
So there are growing claims by people saying that all the hype about the virus is nothing more than that. Texas Governor Rick Perry is quoted saying that the stateâ€™s problems were exacerbated by a â€œa substantial amount of media hype.â€
Itâ€™s an especially easy sell since no American deaths have been reported. The unfortunate result of dismissing the potential lethality of the virus will be that eventually people will get lax in their vigilance against it â€” and instead of blaming themselves for the virusâ€™ recurrence will once again pick on an easy target.