Coronavirus patients are coming from Mexico to seek treatment in the U.S.

us-mexico border coronavirus
Photo via Shaan Hurley/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Doctors are reporting that more and more people from the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border are ending up in America’s hospitals, according to CNN

Doctors say that many of their patients are U.S. citizens or people who have U.S. residency. Many of them were living, working, or visiting family in Mexico at the time that they came down with the coronavirus. They then crossed back into the U.S. to receive treatment. 

While there is a long history of U.S. citizens going into Mexico to receive cheaper health care, the countries have not often seen the reverse. People traveling to the U.S. border states to receive treatment highlights the severity of the pandemic in Mexico, even though COVID-19 continues unabated in the U.S., as well. 

Mexico’s health system is faltering and its coronavirus stats are rising as some public hospitals struggle to meet the needs of their local communities. States directly across the U.S.-Mexico border are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus. 

Baja California, for example, is third in the country for the highest number of coronavirus deaths. The state has more than 2,000 deaths and 10,000 cases. 

Mexican doctors in some public hospitals have said that it’s difficult to give everyone adequate treatment because the patients require the same equipment. Some public hospitals in Mexico have reportedly turned patients away because of a lack of resources. 

That’s leading some U.S. citizens and residents in Mexico to leave the country to seek help in the north. Many are going to hospitals nearest to the border. 

El Centro Regional Medical Center in California told news outlets that the hospital’s coronavirus cases began to rise as the situation became more severe in Mexicali, the city situated across the border about six miles away from the hospital. At one point, El Centro had to stop accepting new patients into its emergency room. 

To cut down on the cross-border travel during the coronavirus, Mexico and the U.S. came to an agreement in March to partially shut down their borders until at least July 21 to limit non-essential land crossing. 

Despite the agreement, all manners of people—dual citizens, Mexicans who have residency in the U.S., and U.S. citizens with residency in Mexico—are flowing back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border almost as normal. 

Sources: Washington Post, CNN, KTVZ, DHS

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