MFA and COVID19 Update – January 23, 2022

Jan 24, 2022 | PDA Blog

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


865,141 Total COVID19 deaths in US to date*

346,056 US COVID19 deaths prevented with MFA**

*Harvard University Daily Tracker 

**Lancet Commission, Feb 2021 

Hello everyone, I’m Bill Honigman (he/him), retired Emergency Room physician from occupied Tongva and Kizh land in Orange County CA, for a quick update on COVID19 for January 23, 2022, and a lead in into our first segment of this town hall, a timely discussion on recent political developments with the effort to move forward with a Single Payer Universal Healthcare system in California in particular with the current bill #AB1400 known as #CalCare.

This is our 102nd weekly PDA Online Town Hall since #COVID19 began for us all in the US in the spring of 2020, and today once again, we must start by reporting that the US continues to lead in global COVID19 deaths.  And why is that?  Because here in this country, compared to all other advanced countries of the world, commercial interests rather than public interests primarily prioritize and allocate resources for public needs.  

We are currently at 865,141 total COVID deaths in the US, according to the *Harvard University Daily Tracker, and we know according to the public health and policy experts of the **Lancet Commission study published last February, that means that of those an estimated 346,056 Americans who have already died from COVID19 would be alive today if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system in place to deal with this public health crisis.  That is not fantasy.  That is fact.

The US today has only 64.05% of our population fully vaccinated, and that puts us ranked according to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center, still at No. 59 in the world.  That’s just behind the countries of Iran and San Marino, and just ahead of Sri Lanka, with Idaho still ranking the worst state in the nation, still at only 47.6% fully vaccinated, falling further yet this week behind the global average of 52.5%.

Globally, #COVID19 cases especially now due to the Omicron variant appear to be declining now in many locations like the UK, leveling in Italy, Spain, and the US, but spiking or even increasing elsewhere like in France, Germany, Russia, Brazil, and India. 

The US, this week continued to show declining numbers in the northeast, and now also at peaks or plateaus in especially more populated and better vaccinated urban areas, although hospital and first responder systems remain massively overburdened across the board.

Deaths and more serious cases are still possible of course, but are believed to be largely a phenomenon of the unvaccinated, with recent CDC study findings reporting that 91% of recent deaths were unvaccinated, and in Texas that figure was 95% had been unvaccinated.  And, findings of new scientific studies were released this week, confirming in particular the effectiveness of booster injections in preventing more serious disease.

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court, in its supreme wisdom, has seen fit to tell the President that he does not have the authority to direct OSHA to require anti-COVID vaccination as a condition of employment for safety in the workplace.  And, the anti-vaxx movement continues to grow fueled by internet and cable info-tainment misinformation unbalanced by discussions that would otherwise take place if we had Universal Healthcare here, like in Japan, where you could see your primary care provider on average 13 times a year compared to our 4 times a year, and have your questions concerning the safety of vaccines and other treatments answered by a familiar and trusted medical information source.

This week, President Biden followed up on his promise to provide home test kits and free N95 masks.  To this Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) applauded the Administration, but also pointed out, “It is a good first step, and more must be done.”

Thank you, Bernie.  Of course, you’re right about that.

But what more must be done?  How about everything else that all Universal Healthcare countries everywhere else around the world are doing that are keeping their rates of preventable death and suffering so much lower than ours?  How about the universal testing, contract tracing afforded by digital information networks, and all manner of COVID and non-COVID care that lower the risk of COVID for their populations that we don’t have, and have lessened their bad outcomes so much more by contrast to ours from Day 1 of this pandemic?

Is there any hope for getting that “more that must be done” as Bernie calls it?

Well, the ball keeps rolling in that direction at least with state-level efforts, again this week in California with Single Payer Universal Healthcare bill AB1400 passing this time the Assembly Appropriations Committee on its way now to a floor vote of the full Assembly by January 31st.

Sponsors and advocates for CalCare across California are now in full pursuit of shoring up the majority of votes needed in this supermajority Democratic body for passage to move on in the legislative process, although its passage is by no means a sure thing given how many of these Dems take big bucks from big pharma and big insurance in this big state.

Of course, Governor Gavin Newsom could still prove himself vital to this effort, or not.  We’ll all see soon enough.

Regardless, the struggle against the pandemic, and for Healthcare Justice continues.

Want to help with CA AB1400, join this CalCare Statewide Virtual Rally, Mon Jan 24 6p PT, click here.

RSVP HERE for the next PDA Sunday Progressive Town Hall, Sundays, 4pm ET.

Watch the previous PDA Healthcare Emergency Town Halls here.

Watch the previous PDA Sunday Progressive Town Halls here.