MFA and COVID19 Update – February 21, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This week worldwide total cases of #COVID19 continued to rise more slowly than in weeks and months past, with this week only 2.5 million total new cases but unfortunately the pace of vaccines given dropped off almost by half with only 29 million vaccines given globally compared to the 48 million reported having been given last week.
This of course bodes poorly in the global race of vaccine distribution against the increasing prevalence of the more contagious coronavirus strains, as well as the recognized supply chain issues made worse now by extreme weather in this country, and poverty and political strife especially in other parts of the world.
And as we approach the one-year mark of disproportionately cruel and inhumane impact of this crisis on those who live in this country, the US commemorates the week with the recognition of being on the threshold of reaching the half million mark on total COVID19 deaths to date. That’s more American lives lost than who died on all of the battlefields of World War I, World War II, and Viet Nam, combined.
This week, the average US COVID deaths mercifully dropped below 2,000 per day, and vaccines given in this country this past week actually almost quadrupled from about 2.4 million to 8.9 million, a pace we are all hoping will resume or even be exceeded once extreme weather and other supply issues are overcome here, and with more and perhaps new vaccines like the Johnson & Johnson product slated to be approved by the CDC and FDA this coming week.
But what of the other public health measures we all know will be needed to once and for all fend off this current crisis as well as prepare us for the next pandemic promised by epidemiologists and climate scientists?
Adding to the already recognized need for universal testing, contact tracing, and treatment far exceeding the need for vaccines alone, including anti-viral treatments like monoclonal antibody therapy, or even having adequate PPE and staffing for our frontline Healthcare and other essential workers, now we know that gene sequencing of these viruses is not being done at a level adequate to keep up with that which is needed to fully understand the new variants and the projected needs for new vaccines that will be required to deal with them.
And of course, what about the treatment of all of those medical conditions that continue to be undertreated in this country, that put us all at increased risk of death and disability, whether due to COVID or otherwise, due to the profit-first Mafia-like extortion business model commercial insurance and big pharma priorities that drive standards of Healthcare in this country? What is the hold up on moving forward with what we know, and what the overwhelming majority of our fellow Americans know is needed especially now at this critical time, a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #Medicare for all system of Healthcare in the US?
There is promising news from more states now responding to this obvious need for universal public health including just this week a new Single Payer bill introduced in the California Assembly AB1400. Interestingly as well that it’s coming from the more conservative body in that state’s legislature.
And this week there is as yet more promising news that our champions in Congress, US Senator Bernie Sanders and US Rep. Pramila Jayapal have worked together to reconcile much of their efforts for new MFA bills coming from them shortly. Specifically, reworked for better unification in the areas of long-term care, the “just transition” to keep and create more Healthcare-related jobs, certain Tri-Care exclusions, expanded mental health and substance-use care, as well as better defining the role of the Secretary of HHS under the new national health plan. And it’s rumored that there are some 75 or more original cosponsors already signed on.
Well, it’s none too soon. We really can’t wait another minute longer. Because at about 2,000 lives still being lost per day in this public health emergency, that means without Medicare for All it’s more than one preventable death per minute, and that’s one minute, and with it one death, too many.