MFA and COVID19 Update – January 3, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This New Year’s week, worldwide total cases of #COVID19 appear to be further leveling off overall as the week-to-week increase dropped from last week’s 4.3 million to this week’s 4.2 million, with the rise in new cases here in the US actually up a bit from last week’s 1.41 million reported new cases to 1.44 million new cases. Of note, Russia continues their slight rise in new cases, and the UK continues their spike of new cases, primarily due to the new more contagious Sars-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 strain, as is well known and reported now to have been detected in some 33 countries overall so far.
The US greeted the new year this week with a total of 332,011 COVID19 deaths to date, which is about 18% of the world’s total, and with record daily death tolls around mid-week — 3,740 just this last Wednesday. Despite declining numbers in some parts of the country, the overall death toll for January is still on track to reach the 400,000 mark projected by public health experts in time for the inauguration of the new administration later this month.
Incidentally, new reports are suggesting an alarming increase in COVID infections among children, around 22%, that may even explain the rise in California’s new cases in particular.
And along with COVID deaths setting records, of course COVID hospitalizations set records this last week with more than 124,600 patients nationwide. In Los Angeles County for example, it was a 1,000% increase in hospitalizations from just 2 months ago, and with some hospitals reporting even running out of oxygen tanks.
All of this with the background of real lives lost and real pain, suffering, and separation. Two young Republicans in their early 40’s, one a Member of Congress, one a Member-Elect, both died this week due to COVID. A special education teacher in her late 30’s from Delaware without complicating medical conditions died from COVID, and the list goes on and on, and especially of course impacting our underserved communities of color all the more.
How do we deconstruct 2020 and the years preceding it, to see the pathway ahead, in particular knowing as we do and as we’ve discussed here now week after week that #MedicareForAll and the #GreenNewDeal are so vital to what is needed to save money and save lives, not just in this setting of existential crisis but in all those critical issues of health, climate, poverty, racism, war, and political corruption?
As Susan B. Glasser pointed out in The New Yorker this week, Trump’s failure to deliver on vaccinations should surprise no one in America at this point and that “the President is careening through the last days of his Administration with a reckless disdain that simply has no precedent in American public life…”, and that “…Trump was not just a circus this year; he was an actual catastrophe…”.
But shouldn’t we broaden that outlook to include all of the enablers, both inside and outside of government, that are keeping ALL of the people from getting ALL of the care, both for COVID19 with the universal testing, contact tracing, and various treatment modalities we ALL need to survive this scourge, but also for the treatment of all medical conditions including the poorly treated diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure, social determinants of health, environmental toxins and traumatic displacements, stressors of modern living and mental health needs that are putting us all at risk?
Who is it that is fighting so hard to enable the status quo and keep all of us from getting Medicare For All and the universal Healthcare, where ALL of the people get ALL of the care that we need, especially now when we need it most? And what are the pressure points we need to apply to disempower them, and right these social injustices with at least a pathway to that ultimate goal clearly in our sights as we begin this new year, in this still very challenged setting of global pandemic and outsized corporate influence in American politics? And once identified, how does that then translate into “forcing the vote” for #HealthcareJustice?
Perhaps the answers can be our 2021 New Year’s revelations.