MFA and COVID19 Update – August 8, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This week, world cases of #COVID19 were up by only 4,241,644 reported new cases, that’s 130 thousand less than last week’s rise in new cases, while total deaths globally did rise by about 69 thousand since last week, to a stunning total now of over 4.2 million. There are still rising numbers of course being reported in the US and Turkey, but elsewhere, cases have leveled or are now decreasing notably in other countries thought to have been significantly impacted by the Delta variant, such as France, Russia, Argentina and Columbia, much as was seen previously to be the case with Delta apparently giving way in the UK and India after a time. And global vaccinations are proceeding, now with about 15.3% of the total world population thought to be fully vaccinated, which is up from last week’s 14%.
Meanwhile, the US still leads in COVID deaths by country, with Brazil and India, now close in second and third places, respectively – our own bizarre and morbid Olympics of shamefully poor public health performances. A staggering 616,468 total US COVID deaths to date, according to the Harvard University Geographic Metrics daily tracker. And as we know, even more shockingly, a full 246,587 of those who have died would be alive today, as was estimated by the esteemed Lancet Commission Study published in February earlier this year, if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system in place, with a public system of financing and prioritizing our Healthcare rather than commercial systems to deal with this public health emergency.
The issue of “vaccine refusal” and the Delta variant having become the pandemic of the unvaccinated, continues to vex efforts here in the US to contain and ultimately wipe out the virus, from both a political and public health perspective. As we’ve mentioned here previously, much attention has been drawn to the misinformation and politization with note especially to the particular parties who stand personally to gain by such a subversion of the more righteous cause to prevent more unnecessary deaths and human suffering.
Corporate media, it would seem, thinks the discussion ends there. Their perpetual displays of “the blame game” and calling attention to who-owns-who, or being all too eager to affix labels like calling the Delta variant “The DeSantis Variant”, neglect taking a hard look at any systemic, structural, and institutional issues at fault, especially when they might involve corporate sponsors threatened by the idea of we the people being in control of our health rather than commercial interests like big insurance and big pharma.
But the question that I haven’t heard addressed yet in either commercial or social media as regards vaccine refusal is how much of it is actually “vaccine fear”? How many would gladly accept the protection of the vaccine if advised to do so from a friendly, reliable, and trustworthy medical resource, like a primary care provider who was readily available, free of cost for such a consultation, and with access on the order like say they are in Japan where doctor visits occur on average about 13 times per year per person compared to 4 times per year here in the US?
When we have been rationed down to 4, or 2, or 1 primary care visit per year, how much faith and trust can we possibly have in the person advising us on these sometimes-rather complicated medical decisions, and the institutions that they use to base those recommendations? Isn’t the role of the prudent provider to offer informed risks versus benefits versus alternatives to any proposed treatment? And isn’t the role of any prudent patient and responsible community member to avail themselves of that advice in their decision-making for themselves and for their families?
What part then does an unwelcomed intermediary like big insurance restricting those discussions between patients and providers, or big pharma restricting access to essential drugs like insulin, high blood pressure, or heart medication, that might also improve risk and outcomes from COVID19, or the Delta variant, play in all of this?
I suspect a very substantial and very negative part.
And given the fact that the US continues to underperform despite overspending on Healthcare compared to all of the other advanced countries of the world, and now even is under-vaccinating our population compared to those same countries, with pockets of vaccine refusers and fearful all over the US, especially in our underserved communities of the inner cities and rural regions, it seems more clearly now than it ever has been before that it’s time to rid the temple of the money changers, and go to a fully publicly financed Single Payer system of expanded and improved Medicare for All.
Clearly, it’s past time that public interests not commercial interests take control of our public health, before even a single more unnecessary death, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, takes place.