MFA and COVID19 Update – December 5th 2021

Dec 6, 2021 | PDA Blog

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

This week, world new cases and deaths due to #COVID19 continue with varying trends, with decreasing numbers reported in such largely populated countries as India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, but alarmingly increasing numbers elsewhere, such as here in the US, the UK, France, Germany, and Argentina.  These increases are believed to be caused still by the Delta variant, now with seasonal influences, including last weeks’ Thanksgiving travel in this country, as dominant factors.

The recent discovery of the multiply mutated #Omicron variant has directed a great deal of global scrutiny to the country of South Africa, where it was first reported.  However, despite initial reports that Omicron might have less serious clinical courses, the overall number of global COVID deaths now being an astounding five and a quarter million, and the resultant call to step up efforts to vaccinate the world, and therefore suppress the pandemic ultimately into nonexistence, is perhaps the only silver lining in this otherwise very dark and scary new development.

The science on the Omicron variant is being revealed now in drips and drabs, but so far at least, it simply supports the need for universal vaccination, including the potential extra protection provided by booster shots.

The percent of global population considered to be fully vaccinated is now estimated at 42.9%, which compares with the United States’ vaccination rate of 60.5% overall.  The worst state in the US being Idaho at 45.3%.  That according to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center, ranks the US at just below Turkey and just above the Czech Republic, and puts Idaho just below Azerbaijan and just above Serbia in its vaccination rate.  So, unfortunately, a trip to Idaho this winter, where you might expect hospitals to be overloaded with COVID19 cases, primarily due to vaccine-refusers, might not be a good idea.

The United States, is now believed to be at 788,202 total deaths due to this pandemic.  And as we’ve pointed out consistently since the seminal Lancet Commission Study of last February reported as much, an estimated full 40% of those, or some 315,280 now of those who have died in this country due to COVID19, would still be alive today if we had the political will to have what we know the overwhelming majority of Americans want, a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system of #UniversalHealthcare.  315,280 alive today.

As we have also pointed out repeatedly, our uniquely commercialized profit-first approach to medical care, clearly impaired our ability to respond to this public health crisis from the start.  There never was any, and there continues to be, no great opportunity for significant profit-making in universal testing, contact tracing, and especially none in reducing the risk to our most vulnerable populations, by adequately treating all existing preconditions and comorbidities, like uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure due to patients cutting their prescriptions in half because of obscene predatory drug pricing, or in allocating resources to our “Healthcare deserts” of the inner cities and rural areas of this country.  There continues to be no markets for our BIPOC communities to support services for all manner of basic care, not just for ICU’s and ventilators.  And there’s still little or no business incentive for getting the tools and equipment to our frontline providers, the paramedics, nurses, doctors, and other clinicians who still need the staffing and the PPE to deal with this and all other public health crises.

None of this is profit-friendly, none of it should be market-driven, or in the hands of some ridiculous so-called “public-private partnership”, more likely to steal away the needed resources than to get them to where the needs exist, whenever they exist. 

Congress and the White House, both of late, have shown exactly how unable they are to get us out of this mess.  With the Biden presidency, the impending mid-terms, and the looming presidential election of 2024, so far at least having put all of its eggs in the basket of only a single aspect of COVID care, that of vaccinating a population that still has far too many vaccine-refusers among us, they just this week now with the appearance of the Omicron variant, and almost 20 months since the pandemic first hit these shores, have just now called for expanding the availability of COVID testing, although just how freely available that will be remains to be seen.  

But a good question to ask any operative in this administration, would seem to me to be, why is it that every other advanced country in the world saw fit to test all of their populations early and often in the course of this pandemic, and to follow their status, and have as a result, done much better for it with many fewer deaths due to COVID19 than we have had?  

And why are our public health agencies not talking about how trusted sources of medical information to offset the misinformation, that is well known to be causing widespread vaccine-refusal in this country, would quite naturally come from universal access to trusted primary care providers, as is the case in all of those other countries with higher vaccination rates and universal healthcare?

Why aren’t we learning from their successes and our mistakes, and taking complete measures, not half measures to correct them? 

And what about Congress?  What is the institutional impairment in there?  Why have we failed to convince just a couple of Democratic senators that building human infrastructure with Universal Healthcare, child and elder care, housing, education, and building renewable energy sources and dependable grids, is at least as important or probably more important than having a bloated oversized military that seems to have little or no relevance in the state of current world affairs?

Is the system of electoral politics in the US so corrupted now by the influence of big money and impossibly empowered over anything that we the people can do to disrupt the paradigm of the bought and the bossed, and the pay-to-play status quo of Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country?  Are the enemies of the public good so able to practice their influence-peddling that even exposing them for what they are has little or no impact in the public discourse?

These may not be new questions to be asked, but they do have a new urgency.  Our fellow Americans are at this very moment still dying in great numbers, and more will die in even greater numbers if we don’t take action, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, with the fierce urgency of now.

The struggle continues.

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