News Is My Business boldly asked, “Is the CDC openly discriminating against Puerto Rico, USA?”
The question comes up because Puerto Rico slipped into Level 4 — High Risk — as defined by the CDC, and was added to the CDC’s “don’t visit” list. News Is My Business is concerned about this because, as they say, “the impact on our island’s tourism will be pretty severe since anyone looking up what this CDC ‘Level 4’ means will see that it explicitly avoids travel to this destination.”
They’re right about all these things. They go on to point out, “Our analysis shows that Puerto Rico’s case growth is not even in the top 10, top 20, or top 30; Puerto Rico ranks #49. Yes #49…With 48 states above Puerto Rico’s current case percentage of 5.51%, representing a -4% decrease during the last 14 days, we wonder, with other 48 states above Puerto Rico, why the CDC did not issue a single Level 4 notice to any of those states.”
Is Puerto Rico higher risk than the states?
We’d say that Puerto Rico is not higher risk than any of the states. In fact, that’s what the CDC says, too. Note that the states and territories at Level 4 are all shown in red in the map below, from the CDC’s website:
The CDC is not saying that Puerto Rico is higher risk than the states. Until the Island moved up on the risk level earlier this week, it was listed as less risky. Level 4 risk is defined as having more than 500 new cases per 100,000 in population over the past 28 days. When Puerto Rico hit that threshold it joined the 50 states on the high-risk list for the U.S. It also was added to the destinations or foreign travel list.
So why is Puerto Rico on that list and the states are not?
The CDC says that its international travel advisories include “international destinations and U.S. territories.” Why does the CDC list U.S. territories under international travel? We don’t know. We can see from the screenshot below that they know Puerto Rico belongs to the U.S.
What’s more, Puerto Rico is also included on their page for domestic travel, which we show you in the screenshot showing the red map.
It may be confusing to see Puerto Rico listed in foreign and domestic travel, but it reflects the confusion caused by Puerto Rico’s territorial status. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. But people do refer to Puerto Rico as a country. That’s confusing. ‘
Maybe the CDC wants to make things clear for travelers who are confused about Puerto Rico. But we don’t think that they are intentionally discriminating against Puerto Rico.
We think it is high time Puerto Rico became a state. This would clear up the confusion. It would also help with many kinds of discrimination against Puerto Rico that we see every day: less federal funding than states, ineligibility for tax credits and federal programs, extra red tape associated with federal benefits, and disenfranchisement in presidential elections, for example.
Tell your representatives to support statehood for Puerto Rico.