759,493 People Entered US From China During Coronavirus Outbreak

759,493 People Entered US From China During Coronavirus Outbreak

Daniel Greenfield

The question isn't why do we have a pandemic. The correct question is why don't we have a much worse pandemic.

Travel data of passengers arriving in the United States from China during the critical period in December, January and February, when the disease took hold in that country, shows a stunning 759,493 people entered the U.S.

"This is an astonishing number in a short period of time, illustrating how globalized our world has become. Just as people can hop continents with amazing ease, the infections they carry can too," said Dr. Vinayak Kumar, an internal medicine resident at the Mayo Clinic and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

The United States doesn't have to be globalized. That's a choice. A bad choice.

Those travelers from China included more than 228,000 Americans returning home and hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals arriving for business, academics, tourism or to visit family.

None of the Chinese nationals should have been allowed into the country. And the Americans should have been quarantined outside the mainland United States.

If we had done it, our economy wouldn't be on life support and hospitals wouldn't be full of people on ventilators.

"The numbers are clearly alarming," Dr. Simone Wildes, an infectious disease specialist at South Shore Health, told ABC News. "It shows that globalization is here, and we have to be better prepared to deal with the impact this will have on all our lives in so many ways."

Added Wildes: "It is difficult to estimate the portion of travelers coming from China to the U.S. with COVID-19, but fair to speculate that a large number might have been infected at the time of travel."

We deal with it by securing our borders and our airports. This is what happens when we fail to do that.

President Donald Trump restricted travel from China effective Feb. 2, which likely saved lives. But by the time the president acted, much of the damage had already been unleashed, and some 18,000 Americans returned home from China in February and March, after the restrictions were in place. It's unclear how intensive, if at all, the screening was for the Americans coming home at that point.

There was no screening and the State Department knowingly brought back infected people into the mainland United States.

"We should recognize that any time there is an emergent event, there is a very good opportunity for global impact," Brownstein said. "We need to be thinking about emergent diseases as a global concern rather than [something] happening in a particular part of the world."

Just the opposite. We need to be thinking about how to protect our part of the world from the world.