Adrián Alonso Gama lived life on both sides of the border, until he got the coronavirus. On weekends the 37-year-old truck driver would stay at his parents’ home in Tijuana. Thanks to his U.S. green card, he lived in his own place in San Diego during the week, delivering beer and auto parts around the American southwest.
Last week, Gama started feeling sick and returned to Mexico to be close to family. He was diagnosed with COVID-19, becoming one of the more than 1,700 confirmed coronavirus patients who make Tijuana second only to Mexico City in infections, despite the border city’s relatively small population.
Citing a threat of the coronavirus from Mexico, the Trump administration has banned hundreds of thousands of people from crossing the southern border with emergency measures that prohibit nonessential traffic and reject asylum seekers without a hearing. At least one American border region is experiencing a spike in hospitalizations that some believe is driven by American citizens who live in Mexico coming to the U.S. for care.
But in Tijuana and other Mexican border cities, many doctors, health officials and ordinary citizens worry about the disease coming in the other direction.