Cover Up of Tuberculosis Outbreak Alleged at Cape Cod Migrant Encampment

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An “emergency alert” email sent by a nonprofit health center to Massachusetts lawmakers sparked the controversy.

An alleged coverup of tuberculosis cases discovered at a migrant shelter on Cape Cod has put state lawmakers in the hot seat with a local radio talk show and Massachusetts’ lone conservative newspaper crusading to expose the alleged coverup.

The controversy stems from an emergency alert sent via email on the Saturday night of Dec. 2  by CEO Heidi Nelson of the Duffy Health Center in Hyannis, Mass., to several recipients including three Massachusetts House members and one state senator.

Neither Ms. Nelson nor Duffy Health Center responded to inquiries by The Epoch Times about her email.

State Reps. Kip Diggs, Christopher Flanagan, and Sen. Julian Cyr—all Democrats—along with Rep. Steven Xiarhos (R-Barnstable), the lone Republican to have received the alleged email, also did not respond to inquiries from The Epoch Times.

South Yarmouth

On Dec. 30, Mr. Xiarhos called the Ed Lambert show during its live broadcast on Cape Cod-based 95 WXTK radio. He confirmed that he was a recipient of Ms. Nelson’s email and that it was about tuberculosis cases discovered at a South Yarmouth motel where 100 migrant families are being housed by the administration of Gov. Maura Healey, a Democrat.

Critics contend that the Healey administration has been spending millions of dollars to shelter migrants living in the U.S. illegally while failing to provide housing for American citizens, including homeless veterans.

Mr. Xiarhos called into the show as Mr. Lambert blasted lawmakers and the health center for refusing to disclose the contents of Ms. Nelson’s email to the public or the status of tuberculosis cases at the motel.

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Mr. Lambert said that while he has obtained a copy of the email from the legislators, statehouse attorneys will not permit him to read it on air.

“I’m blown away that other people who got a direct copy of this email haven’t sent it out and haven’t said to Heidi or anybody else at Duffy Health—‘get it to the people,’ said Mr. Lambert.

“Duffy Health made a decision not to send this to the public. Why, I have no freakin’ clue.”

According to Mr. Lambert, when he specifically asked Mr. Xiarhos’ permission to read Ms. Nelson’s email over the air, the Cape Cod lawmaker told him to file his request under the Freedom of Information Act. Mr. Xiarhos himself confirmed this.

Mr. Xiarhos thanked Mr. Lambert for talking about the controversy on his radio show, telling the conservative talk show host, “You are spot on and I’m glad you keep mentioning it.”

But Mr. Xiarhos went on to say that because it was a “private email” he could not disclose it to the public or authorize anyone else to do so.

That incensed Mr. Lambert, who countered Mr. Xiarhos with the argument that lawmakers represent the public and that the email was sent to their statehouse email, therefore, making the email public domain.

“They did not send this to you, Steven Xiarhos, at your house—they sent it to the statehouse. So it belongs to the public,” argued Mr. Lambert.

Illegal immigrants from Venezuela, who were later escorted off the island, stand outside St. Andrew's Church in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on Sept. 14, 2022. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette/Handout via Reuters)
Illegal immigrants from Venezuela, who were later escorted off the island, stand outside St. Andrew’s Church in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., on Sept. 14, 2022. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette/Handout via Reuters)

The issue drew criticism from several callers including one who said Mr. Xiarhos “needs to go on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ because he danced around the issue beyond imagination.”

Mr. Lambert said that he also has received messages accusing him of “spreading hate on Cape Cod” against migrants by pushing for more information about the tuberculosis cases.

Lonnie Brennan, editor of Boston Broadside, the only local newspaper that has been running stories about the tuberculosis controversy on Cape Cod, told The Epoch Times that there is far more to the story than his paper has printed.

“They are playing hide and seek with letters about tuberculosis and who knows what what else they may be hiding,” said Mr. Brennan. “There should be zero tolerance for hiding things from taxpayers.”

Nationally, a rise in tuberculosis and other diseases greatly reduced or eradicated from the U.S. has been linked to the flood of migrants under President Joe Biden’s open border policy.

According to a recent article by Real Clear Investigations (RCI), polio, leprosy, and malaria, are among diseases thought to be eradicated in the U.S. that have resurfaced.

This past week, a Massachusetts man died and another guest fell seriously ill after developing Legionnaire’s Disease while staying at a New Hampshire resort that has a history of hiring workers from other countries.

“The recent polio and leprosy cases are almost certainly imports to the U.S.,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a physician and scientist at Stanford University, told RCI.

Outbreak in Nebraska

This past November, as many as 500 people were affected by an outbreak of tuberculosis at a YMCA in Nebraska.

The same month, 39 people were found to have been exposed to a person with tuberculosis at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. The state-run college refused to provide any further details.

A 2022 study recently published by the National Institute of Health concluded that tuberculosis is a growing cause of death and illness among refugees and migrant populations.

“These groups are among the most vulnerable populations at increased risk of developing TB,” the article reported. “However, there is no systematic review that attempts to summarize TB among refugees and migrant populations.”

A lack of accountability or willingness by government officials to be more transparent does seem to be playing a role in the problem.

In July, BorderReport.com reported that in 2022, out of the 74 migrants diagnosed with tuberculosis at the border, 25 of them remain unaccounted for.

The organization, which tracks activity at the U.S.-Mexico border, reported that it also found evidence that many migrants admitted to the U.S. with diseases like tuberculosis do not show up for mandatory medical follow-ups.

In a Dec. 27 article, Mr. Brennan’s newspaper published a list of the towns where migrants are being housed after the Healey administration initially refused to disclose the information to Rep. Peter Durant (R-Worcester), who was recently elected to the state Senate.

The record includes the number of migrants being housed in each town, although the Boston Broadside article said it was an incomplete listing.

“We have received many updates from citizens noting illegals in excess numbers than those listed and in locations not listed,  so this list appears to be a minimum amount,” the article said. “Illegals housed in private situations (colleges, church property, etc.) are somehow not being counted.”

Some blame Massachusetts’ right-to-shelter law for the high number of migrants in the New England state. While it is not a designated sanctuary state, Massachusetts has several sanctuary cities including Cambridge, Boston, Newton, Somerville, Chelsea, and Concord.

Motels and Base Housing

During his call-in to the Ed Lambert radio show, Mr. Xiarhos noted that he has sponsored a bill to make the shelter law applicable only to those living legally in the U.S.

“Massachusetts taxpayers are paying an average of $50 million a month to house migrants,” he said.  “I know it because I’m on the Ways and Means Committee.”

Referring to Gov. Healey, Mr. Xiarhos added, “We fought the governor’s request for more money. Now, she’s asking for almost a billion dollars for the next budget and the money is not there.”

He also seemed to side with those upset that migrants were taking precedence over Cape Codders who are homeless.

“We have people in Barnstable and in Sandwich and in Bourne that are homeless, living on the street, or living in tents or in cars that are American citizens.

“Meanwhile, we have thousands living in motel rooms and on Joint Base Cape Cod from another country here illegally, getting three meals a day and free housing—and that is backwards.”

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