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World Mexico coronavirus: Governor claims poor are "immune" from coronavirus

00:25  27 march  2020
00:25  27 march  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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A Mexican state governor has prompted incredulity and outrage by claiming that poor people are immune to Covid-19, as the government attempts to Miguel Barbosa, the governor of Puebla, was apparently commenting on reports that a significant proportion of Mexico ’s coronavirus cases is

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The governor of a state in central Mexico is arguing that the poor are “ immune ” to the new coronavirus , even as the federal government suspends all nonessential government activities beginning Thursday in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

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The governor of the central Mexican state of Puebla told reporters Wednesday that poor people "are immune" from the coronavirus.

During his remarks, which broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook, Governor Luis Miguel Barbosa posed a question, asking reporters which people were infected at the moment.

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"The majority are wealthy people, you know," he said, answering his own question. "If you're rich you're at risk, but if you're poor, no, well us poor, we are immune."

a group of people walking down the street: A street vendor sells antibacterial gek in a street of Mexico City on March 23, 2020, during the outbreak of the new coronavirus COVID-19. - The government of Mexico City imposed the closure of public spaces, as well as cinemas, bars, theatres and gyms to avoid contact between the population of the capital. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images) © PEDRO PARDO/AFP/AFP via Getty Images A street vendor sells antibacterial gek in a street of Mexico City on March 23, 2020, during the outbreak of the new coronavirus COVID-19. - The government of Mexico City imposed the closure of public spaces, as well as cinemas, bars, theatres and gyms to avoid contact between the population of the capital. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)

There is no scientific evidence to suggest the virus effects people differently due to economic status. His remarks sparked an uproar on social media, with many questioning why a government official would spread information that has no basis in fact.

Barbosa noted that many of those who contracted the virus had recently traveled, suggesting a link between wealth and travel. Of Mexico's 475 confirmed cases of the virus so far, about 75 percent were connected to international travel according to federal health statistics. As of Thursday afternoon, 44 people had tested positive for the virus in Puebla

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Asked about the remarks at a Thursday press conference, Barbosa refused to comment.

Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has also drawn criticism recently for what critics call his dismissive attitude toward the coronavirus outbreak.

As the pandemic spread across the world, as recently as last week López Obrador was not practicing social distancing and downplaying the virus' threat, telling families to live as they normally would. He has changed his tone over the last few days, as Mexico's case count has more than doubled since March 20, urging people to be safe and stay home.

Mexico's federal government has also ramped up prevention measures recently. Beginning what it calls Phase 2 of its crisis response, the government has shuttered schools, closed non-essential federal offices, and encouraged people to say home and socially distance. A nightly press conference by the Ministry of Health updates the public on the status of the outbreak.

On Thursday morning, López Obrador told reporters the worst of the outbreak would be over by April 19. But Deputy Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell Ramírez l told reporters shortly afterward that there is a strong risk that the number of cases will exponentially rise, forcing force the government to take stronger preventative measures.

Governor Barbosa is a member of López Obrador's MORENA political party. His comments are also at odds with preventative measures recently put in place in Puebla—measures that are not only aimed at the wealthy: On March 23, Puebla's government temporarily suspended all activities at theatres, cinemas, gyms, bars, zoos, among other places. The local government has also launched an online hygiene campaign including videos in Nahuatl, an indigenous language spoken by more than a million people nationwide.

Google donates Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to California students .
To help students keep up with their studies during the coronavirus pandemic, Google will donate 4,000 Chromebooks and 100,000 WiFi hotspots to households in California. Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the initiative in a tweet on Wednesday. California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state's Department of Education will distribute the Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots, prioritizing rural communities. Students will have the tools until the end of the school year, giving them at least three months of unlimited high-speed internet access.

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