ICE: Only 8 Illegal Immigrant Detainees With Coronavirus Have Died



Illegal immigrant detainees at the U.S.-Mexico border in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody have coronavirus death rates that are drastically lower than the general U.S. population who’ve contracted the virus, according to the ICE website.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 6,541 detainees in ICE custody have contracted coronavirus but only eight people have died from the virus. That’s a rate of only 0.1%.

Conversely, more than 7.85 million in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus, with 215,000 dying from the virus. That’s a 2.7% rate.

Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Department of Health Policy, said it’s important to know the ages and other demographic details about the population in custody to put the comparison in perspective.

“We don’t know the age distribution of the ICE detainees, and that’s very important,” Schaffner said in a phone call Tuesday. “We would think that they would tend to be younger because older people are less likely to undertake the hazard of trying to cross the border, so we think that these are probably middle-aged young adults and even some children.”

Schaffner also questioned the testing methods used at the detention centers.

“We don’t know what their testing practices are, if they are testing very comprehensively,” Schaffner said. “Do they routinely test everyone who they detain, or are they testing when people have minimal symptoms? And both of those would be much more comprehensive testing programs than we generally have in the open population.”

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