MFA and COVID19 Update – February 6, 2022

Feb 7, 2022 | PDA Blog

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

I’m Dr. Bill Honigman, retired Emergency Room physician coming to you from Tongva and Kizh land in Orange County CA, and this is the PDA Progressive Online Sunday Town Hall for February 6th 2022, which is now the 104th weekly town hall in this series that began back in the spring of 2020, when we all first went into mass isolation due to COVID19.

This week, world new cases and deaths due to #COVID19 continued to decline in most regions with notable exceptions being in Russia and Germany showing spiking numbers and Turkey with rising numbers.  About 53% of the world’s population is thought to be currently fully vaccinated, with tremendous inequity still when comparing the global north to the poorer global south.

And as our good friend Alex Lawson at says, “This pandemic will not be over for anyone until it’s over for everyone.”

Meanwhile the US overall vaccination rate of 64%, ranks us at #58 again compared to other countries, that’s just behind El Salvador, and just ahead of San Marino and Sri Lanka, and Alabama still holds the “worst state” status for vaccinations in the U.S. at 49.6%.  That’s three percentage points less than the world average.  Go Crimson Tide!

And this week, the United States remains first in the world in confirmed COVID19 deaths, with a deplorable 901,052 total COVID deaths to date in the U.S. according to the Harvard University Daily Tracker.  This means of course, as we have been following here, that 360,420 US COVID19 deaths or “missing Americans” as Michael Lewis refers to them in his new book on the pandemic called “The Premonition”, would still be alive today if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system of #UniversalHealthcare in this country as exists in civilized countries elsewhere in the world.

This week saw continued declining numbers, thank goodness, of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID in most parts of the country, giving a bit of much needed relief now to hospitals and emergency medical systems, although many are still reeling in the overall national strain, including from preventable deaths and suffering due to other causes from for example, delayed routine care, and untreated mental health conditions.

Reports are now suggesting a COVID19 vaccine for small children, age 5 and younger might be available within the next few weeks, which is very promising news indeed, especially to prevent transmission to grandparents and other caregivers who are themselves more at risk for severe illness.

Nonetheless, resistance to vaccination and other public health mandates persist around the globe, although as we know, the U.S. having no universal Healthcare is uniquely positioned to have far less trusted sources of medical information to offset the misinformation that universally pervades the internet and other media platforms.  Yellow vest protests in France and trucker convoys in Canada threaten to bolster the anti-vaxx opportunists even within the MAGA conspiracy theorists here in the U.S.

All of which of course ignores the data that shows the fully vaccinated remain some 20 times less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID even during the Omicron spike, and were 80 times less likely during the Delta variant spike that occurred just last summer and early fall.  “Live free or die” becomes “Live in abject ignorance and kill others”.

So, as we turn now to potential national and regional solutions and to our 2022 midterm elections in America, what more are we hearing from national and local leaders and candidates on resolving the discord, bridging the gaps, and bringing solutions to communities and households still suffering from the pandemic that placed enormous burdens on top of already crisis-level problems, getting Healthcare to everyone, as we know is a right in all civilized societies?

At a local, regional, and national level, we continue to see woefully inadequate resources for universal testing, contact tracing, and providing care for chronic conditions that put us all at risk for worse outcomes.  And yet, the political status quo continues to tell us that this emergent public need does not warrant the disruption and redistribution of resources away from commercial interests to be directed instead to we the people.

In California, just this week, the latest Single Payer Universal Healthcare bill AB1400 was blocked by such status quo Democrats, as well as the usual united front of anti-egalitarian Republicans, from even coming to the Assembly floor for debate and a vote.  Many of them showing their corporate leanings by parroting health insurance and Chamber of Commerce talking points, despite knowing full well the risk of losing support in donations and volunteerism for their campaigns among the Democratic Party faithful.

Who will now emerge in places like this to offset this shameful display of allegiance to the monied political interests?  And how can enough voter engagement be generated to bring real solutions like Single Payer expanded and improved Medicare for All and “Health Security” to the forefront in these elections?

And finally, what will make the political winds blow away from the largess of the rich and greedy, and towards the existential needs of we the people?

Clearly, this struggle continues.

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Watch the previous PDA Healthcare Emergency Town Halls here.

Watch the previous PDA Sunday Progressive Town Halls here.