MFA and COVID19 Update – August 7, 2022

Aug 8, 2022 | PDA Blog

photo: Dr. Bill Honigman’s HC Forum Presentation 2017


By Dr. Bill Honigman, Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America



1,029,968 Total COVID19 deaths in US to date*

411,987 US COVID19 deaths prevented with MFA**

*Harvard University Daily Tracker

**Lancet Commission, Feb 2021


This week, world new cases of #COVID19, appeared finally to be peaking once again in most regions. That’s especially good news after the most recent surge due to the current generally more contagious #Omicron subvariants, which has now pushed global total deaths due to the virus to approaching the 6.5 million mark, and only about 69% of the world’s population is thought to be currently vaccinated, with still far too many that remain unvaccinated in the poorer global south.

Still the global leader in COVID19 deaths, the Harvard University Daily Tracker is reporting that the U.S. total death toll is 1,029,968 lost souls to date.  And, as we’ve been tracking here since the Lancet Commission study was first published in February of 2021, this means that an estimated 411,987 Americans have died to date from this pandemic, whose deaths would have been prevented if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll (MFA) system in place to provide adequate and equitable Healthcare to all in this country as we should.  

That’s 1,396 who died unnecessarily just this week from COVID19 in the US because of political protection of the profiteering status quo, and their obstruction of MFA.

The overall vaccination rate in this country remains at only 67.7% of our total population, about 1.5% behind the global average.  And, that ranks us globally at #66 now this week, just behind India and Sri Lanka once again, and just ahead of El Salvador and Belarus.  By comparison, we are the worst vaccinated of all the G7 countries, all of them well above the global average, with Canada best of the seven at 82.4% and the UK, second worst of the seven, still well above us at 74.4%.

Alabama is back this week to being the worst vaccinated state in the U.S. at just 51.5%, subjecting its residents to rates of hospitalization and death from COVID19 to 2 or 3 times more likely than their more protected American neighbor states.

In this regard, the Washington Post reported on Friday that only 48 percent of eligible people nationwide have received a first booster, and just under a third of those older than age 50 have gotten a second booster, according to the CDC.  This prompted Dr. Anthony Fauci to warn that those who are not up-to-date on the vaccines and boosters are “going to get into trouble” with even more COVID variants expected yet to come.  This also, as the FDA announced earlier this week to be further accelerating the fall booster campaign slated now to begin in September, that will be the much anticipated “reformulated vaccine” that specifically targets those newer subvariants.

Meanwhile, the White House reported yesterday that President Joe Biden, who continues to recover from his “Paxlovid rebound” case of COVID, has now tested negative for two consecutive days, and will emerge today from his more extended period of isolation.  

That can’t happen soon enough as more areas within the country are now experiencing increased cases of other preventable infectious diseases requiring his and our collective attention, including such old nemeses as measles and polio.  And, especially as we all know now, the Monkeypox virus, or MPXV, has emerged in sufficient numbers to have been declared a public health emergency, both in the U.S. by the White House this week, and globally by the World Health Organization last week.

The White House has designated FEMA administrator Robert J. Fenton, and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, as the lead coordinators of the national team for Monkeypox Response.  Critical shortages of the MPXV vaccine need emergent attention as described by the NYT earlier this week as “caused in part because the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services failed early on to ask that bulk stocks of the vaccine it already owned be bottled for distribution”.

Otherwise, the big and late-breaking news, more indirectly impacting Healthcare in America, is of course the passage by a strictly partisan 51-to-50 vote just yesterday in the U.S. Senate of the reconciliation bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act.  This legislation, carefully crafted to satisfy especially the needs of corporate status quo Dems, is thought still by most in Congress at least to make serious head way not just in Healthcare, with extended ACA subsidies and Medicare drug price negotiations, but also on critical funding needed to address our Climate Emergency, and some notable tax reform.

So, what does all this mean in terms of our ongoing inadequate and unjust delivery of Healthcare in America?  How and to whom must we turn for solutions, both from a clinical and health systems perspective, to address these threats in a more efficient and humane manner?  And finally, what lessons can we learn and messages can we generate that will turn these mostly sad facts into the political tools needed to elect more champions for the cause of Healthcare Justice and MFA, to Congress and local offices this November, and to a more issues-focused presidential election in 2024?

Clearly, the path before us is a long one but made easier with more understanding.

Thanks, and onward!

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