MFA and COVID19 Update – April 4, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
On this Easter Sunday, which is also the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of history’s greatest advocates for global peace and social justice, we are mindful that this week the global pandemic known as #COVID19 showed some leveling off and even declining numbers in new cases and new deaths, although with almost 70,000 COVID19 deaths this week alone worldwide, that’s as much a loss as many small cities, lost in just one week.
Brazil continues as the international leader in new cases and in rate of deaths but is now beginning to show political resistance in particular with high-ranking military officials resigning en masse from the Bolsonaro government due to its mishandling of related public health matters, in particular with their markedly delayed roll out of vaccines.
Meanwhile, a growing international consortium that recognizes that COVID19 knows no borders, but has yet to include the US within its membership, has stated publicly this week of an agreement to work cooperatively in an unprecedented manner not just on this pandemic but on those pandemics yet to come. With the UK, France, Germany, Spain and many others of our traditional global allies on board, it’s unclear why Biden/Harris has yet to sign onto this promising international agreement. And that is while well-known US advocates like author/academic Timothy Snyder are calling for us to “vaccinate the world” as most here now know that we should.
And here in the US, the “4th wave” or “surge” is squarely upon us with new total cases of COVID19 for the week up from last week’s approximately 430,000 to now 450,000, but thankfully more serious cases are fewer with hospitalizations actually down, and total US deaths due to COVID19 for the week down from 6,884 last week to 5,924 this week. That’s still an average of 846 lives lost per day due to this crisis, and brings us to an overall total of US COVID19 deaths for the entire pandemic to date of 554,302. A still mind-boggling figure, especially again considering that 221,720 of those deaths would have been prevented if we had had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll (MFA) system in place at the time of onset of this scourge.
Again, this is all in spite of the fact that the US continues to set new records in vaccinations, with a single-day record just yesterday of approximately 4.1 million shots given, and a 7-day average now of about 3.07 million per day. This now amounts to about 31.4% of the total US population who have received at least one dose of a COVID19 vaccine, and only about 18% of the population who have been fully vaccinated, so far.
Despite still having a long way to go in this race to vaccinate versus the spread of the more contagious variants, which we know is wreaking havoc now in states like Michigan and Rhode Island, there has been a plethora of reassuring scientific information supporting apparent immunity granted by the vaccines as effective enough for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift travel restrictions for those fully vaccinated. This is comforting news for many especially our seniors and chronically ill who were prioritized as especially at risk who can now perhaps safely reunite with family members.
However, as we know, public health authorities like Drs. Walensky and Fauci are still concerned enough about resurgences that they are vehemently still advising restraint on removing mask and social distancing requirements in public settings especially, overall. And unfortunately, we are still dealing with as many as 25% of the population being “vaccine deniers” and others in a general state of letting down their guard due to the new pandemic of “COVID fatigue”.
So, what’s the light at the end of the tunnel for those of us who get it, especially for those of us who can’t turn a blind eye or numb ourselves with self-expressions of “thoughts and prayers” to the 200,000 plus lives already tragically lost unnecessarily to this pandemic that would have been prevented if we had the kind of #HealthcareJustice that Dr. King himself called for in the years just before his untimely death, when he called attention to the inequality in Healthcare as being the most shocking and inhumane of all?
The answer clearly as we’ve called for here week after week now, and as the science has supported now over and over again for many years, is to enact HR1976 the National Medicare for All Act of 2021. And do it now, before more lives are needlessly lost because we allowed the profit-first interests of big insurance and big pharma to set the priorities in our response to a public health emergency instead of having public interests, meaning we the people, set those priorities.
And to do that we must call public attention and shaming once again to those Democratic members of the US House of Representative who are taking their marching orders from those corporate interests instead of listening to the needs of their constituents. These 21 members of Congress, who I call the “Twisted Twenty-One”, are the ones taking the most declared money from the medical industrial complex, and don’t support MFA. So, let me briefly remind you of who exactly they are here once again…
Again, we are asking these House Democrats to reconsider own their political calculus and personal consciences especially in light of thd public health emergency of COVID19, and all of the lives unduly lost, and decide enough is enough. Cut off the corporate cash umbilical cords, and join we the people to do what’s right for your constituents, our communities, and our country, and help us pass and enact MFA, now.
For especially in times such as these, as Dr. King told us, it’s about the fierce urgency of now.