MFA and COVID19 Update – January 2, 2022

Jan 3, 2022 | PDA Blog

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

This week, world new cases and deaths due to #COVID19 continued with rising and peaking numbers now predominantly due to the extremely transmissible #Omicron variant.  The notably swift and relatively mild course of Omicron in the countries earliest impacted by this new variant is bringing hope to those now finding themselves in the throes of their new surges.  However, economic interests, and especially public service sectors, and worst of all the Healthcare sectors themselves, are being strained once again to capacity, especially in areas prone to a lack of vaccine, whether by endemic poverty or by misguided refusal.

Global status currently stands at 48.4% of the world’s population thought to be fully vaccinated, which compares with the US overall rate of 62%, and Idaho still holds the “worst state” status for vaccinations in the US at just 46.19%.  That’s a full two percentage points less than the world average.  So once again this week, Idaho should be not be anyone’s winter holiday destination plan, sorry Sun Valley Ski Resort people, due to the expected strain on medical and other public services in that area.

Of course, global vaccination particularly in the poorer countries of the southern hemisphere continues to be a challenge not generally being helped enough by the richer countries of the global north, which means continued proliferation of more variants predicted and a prolonged duration of the pandemic at hand for all of us due to the favored status of commercial interests of those still holding patents on the vaccines.  In other words, global corporate welfare has now become the Frankenstein monster in the form of this pandemic.

The United States’ ranking in vaccination rate is currently #59, according to the Johns Hopkins University Resource Center.  That’s just below Morocco and just above the former Czech Republic.  Again, we’re the sad underperformer among the wealthier so-called advanced countries.

And the United States is still the gold medalist in COVID19 deaths to date, at 822,846 according to the Harvard University Daily Tracker, which means that 329,138 US COVID19 deaths as we know would have been prevented so far if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system of #UniversalHealthcare in this country as exists in truly advanced countries elsewhere in the world.  That’s 329,138 lives lost for strictly political reasons.

So, as we turn now in 2022 to our midterm elections in America, what can we expect from the political discourse of candidates stepping up to offer a vision for a better future on this issue, and other issues of existential importance?  Who out there running for office at the federal, state, and local levels appreciates and can articulate the awesome potential to save lives and save money, lots of money, that can be applied to schools, housing, renewable energy, community policing, as well as expanded and improved Healthcare itself, that comes with Medicare for All?

President Biden was quoted this week as offering to extend support to states dealing with the strained conditions due to the Omicron surge, however also pointing out that he believes the states need to lead in the efforts to take control, saying “There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level.” 

Really, President Biden, no federal solution?

Just how much of this response to Omicron, or the COVID19 pandemic overall, is the state’s obligation and how much is the federal government’s?  Under a federal expanded and improved MFA system, wouldn’t we have resources allocated specifically to where they’re most needed across the country, to traditionally underserved communities in America’s inner cities as well as for rural America, especially where our Black and indigenous people of color live in communities that are now clearly underserved, and clearly more susceptible to the ravages of market-based medical decision-making, rather than receiving human needs-based Healthcare as they should be?

Whether it’s the Omicron surge or the pandemic more generally, we need all of our elected officials, at all levels of government, to own up to the shared responsibility for our collective response to this threat, as we will for future threats coming our way due to rising global temperatures.

And clearly, we need to recognize and support those candidates running in these midterms of 2022 who show exactly that potential.  Nothing less will suffice, and nothing less will turn out the vote needed to win.

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