MFA and COVID19 Update – December 26th 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
815,018 Total COVID19 deaths in US to date*
326,007 US COVID19 deaths prevented with MFA**
This is our 98th weekly PDA Online Town Hall since #COVID19 began for us in the spring of 2020, and today once again, we must report that the US remains in first place in the global competition for COVID19 deaths. That’s despite our not being the most populated country in the world, by far. We are at 815,018 total COVID deaths in the US today according to the Harvard University Daily Tracker, and we know that means 326,007 Americans who have died from COVID19 that would be alive today if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system in place to deal with this public health crisis.
The US stands today at only 61.6% of our population fully vaccinated, and still less than half of those boosted, and that puts us ranked according to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center, at only #59 in the world, just behind Morocco, and just ahead of the former Czech Republic, with Idaho once again this week ranking the worst state in the nation at 46%, which is still even farther this week falling behind the global average of 48.89%. Again, this means that Idaho shouldn’t be anyone’s idea of a destination place for a winter trip this year, if at all possible.
This week the Omicron variant created the second largest wave of the pandemic to date, with prevalence numbers jumping from an estimated 12% of infections in the US last week, up to 73% this week. Illness among the workforce caused airlines to cancel flights nationwide and even many in the medical workforce, an already critically pandemic-strained sector, to be significantly further impacted.
The White House responded with a plan to make COVID19 testing more universal, although still only available on demand of individuals and households, meaning a reactive not pro-active measure, and inadequate in its scope by most experts, as too little and too late.
There was more focus this week on new anti-viral drugs coming unfortunately from the usual big pharma sources with their inherent institutional problems of limited supply and untimely availability, and with the usual expectation of predatory pricing that will come with them. However, makers of a couple of new anti-COVID vaccines appear to be coming from some unusually promising sources including one from the US miliary that could have more universal efficacy against the developing COVID variants, and one vaccine in particular coming from philanthropic sources. Hence, both of these could skirt the intellectual property issues that are keeping global vaccine availability a significant negative factor in the attempt to suppress the overall incidence of the virus that is perpetuating the pandemic.
Nonetheless, the cultural and political war around the pandemic continues, with anti-vaxxers polled this week showing just 12% of unvaccinated Americans said the Omicron variant’s emergence would make them more inclined to get their first shot. And the idiocy of their spokespersons was still on full display, as with former VP candidate and Alaska Governor drop-out Sarah Palin, who this week declared that it’ll be over her dead body that she’ll take the shot. True enough that.
Finally, the good news out of South Africa is that Omicron appears to be fading quickly there, while the bad news here remains that we still have a political establishment nearly completely refractory to facing the reality that we in the US have no effective public health system to deal with these public health emergencies. That’s because we have no health system that prioritizes the needs of the public over those of private commercial interests.
The regrettable and shameful preventable deaths in this country due to this pandemic, and those yet to come with rising global temperatures, will continue until we can shift the narrative and shift the paradigm in the US, as all other advanced countries of the world have long since already done, and set into place full universal Healthcare as a right not a privilege. A system where ALL of the people receive ALL of the Healthcare, a system of Single Payer Medicare for All.