MFA and COVID19 Update – August 1, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This week, world cases of #COVID19 were up by 4.3 million and total global deaths were up by about 67 thousand since last week. That’s with spiking cases in the US, increasing cases in France, leveling cases in India and Russia, and finally and thankfully decreasing cases in the UK. And global vaccinations have now reached about 14% of the total world population estimated to be fully vaccinated.
Those countries particularly impacted by the Delta variant and ahead of the US in their exposure, are now thankfully showing declines, implying of course that despite persistent vaccine fear and refusal in the US, peak activity of this most contagious variant might soon be behind us as well. Hopefully, that will happen in time for the resumption of school and other full social activities expected in the fall and winter months ahead.
And, reimposing masking for all indoor public activities, as was recommended this week by the CDC, seems at least to most of us, the very least we can all do for each other for now.
We all of course eagerly await the announcement that we can safely begin to vaccinate children under age 12 years old — that’s a full 15% of the US population currently ineligible for the vaccine — not only because we are concerned for their safety and welfare, but because that additional public health measure alone will significantly help get us to the point of driving down the overall prevalence of the virus. Hopefully then we can be rid of this pandemic, once it’s at the point where new mutations and new variants have no place to divide and proliferate. And then finally, we can gather our thoughts enough to learn from our mistakes and prepare for the next health challenges headed our way due to rising global temperatures.
Meanwhile, the incidence and death toll especially among the unvaccinated due to the Delta variant in the US reaches ever-staggering new heights. According to the Harvard University daily tracker, we are now at 612,929 total COVID19 deaths in the US to date. And applying the learnings of the esteemed Lancet Commission Study published in February of this year, we know that a full 245,171 of those victims would be alive today if we had a #Single Payer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system in place to deal with this national public health crisis.
Of course, misinformation and politicization continue to make a collective effort to defeat COVID19 all the more untenable, but so do institutional biases brought on by commercial interests that have promoted profit-driven health measures at the expense of public needs. Like for example, big pharma’s flooding the airwaves with ads for drugs that are so filled with deceptions that nobody should take them seriously and yet we all apparently do at least somewhat, which is why they continue to do it. Or big insurance continuing to promote their extortion model of business practice, selling promises for medical care that go routinely undelivered, especially when we’re rationed down to far fewer visits with our primary care providers than in any other advanced country in the world, such that the idea of having a trusted “medical home” in this country is almost absurd unless you happen to be a VA patient or happen to live near one of the community clinics that Bernie Sanders has so vehemently fought for throughout the entirety of his political career.
These commercial market forces that are counterproductive to keeping us knowledgeable, healthy, and secure, are creating a state of institutional paralysis at a time of urgent action, and our most vulnerable are made to suffer.
The recognition of this institutional oppression in US Healthcare, creating our inability to respond to challenges like COVID19 or even just to survive let alone thrive in modern times in this country, is unfortunately still shared by far too few among us to effect the change needed to correct the injustices we are all so painfully experiencing. The marches and rallies that we saw this past week, commemorating the birthday of Medicare and calling for keeping the promise of FDR and JFK and others to make Healthcare a Human right by expanding it to everyone in America, were unfortunately attended by far fewer than any of us would have wanted to see.
Nonetheless, collectively, actions on Healthcare, Climate, and the other existential threats of racism, war, poverty, and political corruption, have been in evidence of late despite the significant personal and organizational hurdles encountered, and that is both inspiring and motivating to see. Our champions for social justice are stepping up to be a part of these campaigns, whether in the form of visibility, civil disobedience, or canvassing or donating to champion candidates for the cause.
For if nothing else can be said of any consequence regarding our current situation, facing these monumental threats to our individual and collective existence, we should take solace in knowing that we did what we could. We showed up, we stood up, we spoke up, and we took action for the health of our families and our communities, for a more perfect union and for a more perfect world. And meanwhile, the struggle for peace, health, and social justice continues.