Mexican Governor Says "Only The Rich Are At Risk, Poor People Are Immune"
"If you're rich, you're at risk, if you're poor, you're not"
Miguel Barbosa Huerta, governor of Puebla, has come under fire for a misleading, inflammatory statement he made during a press conference concerning his state's 38 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
El Gobernador del Estado mexicano de Puebla, @MBarbosaMX, asegura que los pobres son inmunes al coronavirus: “Si ustedes son ricos, tienen el riesgo; si ustedes son pobres, no. Los pobres estamos inmunes (al virus)”, ha señalado el político mexicano https://t.co/jHCJS517UM pic.twitter.com/1kszYRACK0— EL PAÍS América (@elpais_america) March 25, 2020
The governor claimed that only rich people were at risk of contracting COVID-19 and that poor people were immune.
"La mayoría son gente acomodada eh, ¿sí lo saben o no? si ustedes son ricos tienen el riesgo, si ustedes son pobres, no, los pobres estamos inmunes, sale."
"The majority [of cases] are wealthy people," said Huerta, referring to the fact that many of those who had fallen ill had traveled recently.
"If you're rich, you're at risk, if you're poor, you're not, we poor are immune," he continued, including himself in the population of "pobres" despite making 10 times as much as the average Mexican worker.
In response to Huerta's claim, ex-president Felipe Calderon didn't pull any punches, tweeting that Huerta is at high risk, referring to his diabetes and "obesity."
Pero sí entra en varias categorías de riesgo. Diabetes, obesidad... Pero como él dice que los pobres no se contagian y él se asume (falsamente) como pobre, que se vaya a atender a los pacientes de coronavirus, que llegarán por miles a los hospitales. En lugar de las enfermeras. https://t.co/qB8ktaW2Qk— Felipe Calderón (@FelipeCalderon) March 25, 2020
Since Huerta "identifies as poor," Calderon tweeted, he should give nurses a break and put his "immunity" to good use, tending to coronavirus patients in hospitals.
Huerta clapped back, tweeting, "We're all at risk...incluyendo los borrachos."
"As President, you caused many more deaths than could be caused by coronavirus," Huerta continued, demonstrating that he, like Mexico's president Lopez-Obrador, doesn't seem to be taking the threat of the coronavirus seriously.
Since no aggressive, widespread testing has been implemented in the country, a recent map of "confirmed" cases seems to indicate that all Mexicans are immune to coronavirus, prompting a tweeter to ask, "Did Mexico ban the coronavirus?"
But the virus is already making it's way through the population - and it does not discriminate between rich and poor. Although it seems to hit elderly and immunocompromised people harder, the number of deaths among young, healthy people has started to climb.
It can take up to two weeks for symptoms to develop, and a person can be passing the virus on to others the entire time, not just by sneezing or coughing on them, but by rubbing his eyes, nose, or mouth and then putting his hand on a frequently touched surface, like a door handle, counter, or gas pump.
Many people, of all different socio-economic backgrounds, travel in and out of Mexico for work and tourism. To suggest that only wealthy travelers are at risk is not just classist, it's irresponsible and downright dangerous.