MFA and COVID19 Update – June 20, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This week worldwide reported new cases of #COVID19 again rose by yet another 2.5 million cases but that’s once again 150,000 cases less than last week’s rise, and while global deaths were reported at 64,599 for the week that’s slightly decreased from last week’s overall global COVID death toll.
India, of late the hardest hit country in the world, showed decreasing numbers, but with deaths still at about 1,500 plus per day. Their chief concern has been the so-called Delta variant of the COVID19 virus, which is more transmissible than the common Alpha variant, and is believed to have created their second wave. The Delta variant is now thought to be present in some 80 countries globally and likely causing at least minor spikes in the UK, Russia, and Germany among others.
Vaccines, at least where available, are believed to be only slightly less effective against the Delta variant, in particular in preventing more serious illness and hospitalizations. But even fully vaccinated individuals are being advised by experts to avoid travel to and from so-called virus-variant affected areas.
And just exactly how available are vaccines globally at present? That’s still a matter of considerable concern. Advocacy groups like the People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA) are still popping up due to as yet unmet global need, and any consideration of these more transmissible variants should prompt the response that we are NOT safe from this or any pandemic until we are ALL safe.
Brazil, by the way, continues to act as the world’s leading example of how NOT to respond to this global public health crisis, with COVID deaths there continuing at about 2,000 per day. There are now signs of increasing political unrest directed at their autocratic leader, Jair Bolsonaro, who like his American role model, Donald J. Trump, has been a promoter of bogus treatments like hydroxychloroquine and unmitigated herd immunity. Hopefully their democratic institutions will remain intact long enough to mercifully remove him from office similarly in the coming months.
And here in the US, COVID19 deaths continue at about 360 lost souls per day, which would be unacceptable of course under many other public health crisis criteria such as those who die from gun violence, traffic collisions, or plane crashes.
As of this week, all institutions publishing pandemic tracking statistics are now reporting over 600,000 total US COVID deaths, which means of course, as we’ve pointed out here now week after week, that some 240,000 of those fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, who have been killed by COVID19 here in the US would be alive today if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system in place to deal with this public health crisis and national nightmare.
While the rate of vaccinations has fallen off a bit lately, due to vaccine-refusers especially in certain regions of the country, the goal of the Biden/Harris administration of 70% to have received at least one dose of vaccine by July 4th will not be far off. From a disease control perspective, this won’t be significant except in those areas where refusal is dominating, like Texas and Missouri for example, where they are now seeing a spike in new COVID hospitalizations.
Just as many states this week have relaxed public health restrictions to pre-pandemic levels, especially in those hardest hit states like New York and California, it becomes imperative to keep in mind that those more transmissible variants are only one or two borders away, and once again we are NOT safe until we are ALL safe.
So how do we best prepare for the next pandemic headed our way due to rising global temperatures? How do we replace our non-system of commercial commoditized American Healthcare that speaks only to market needs, not public needs? And how do we set into place a system that can prioritize and allocate the resources needed to promote the health and general welfare of we the people, not they the corporate boardroom?
This week saw a right-wing dominated US Supreme Court uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or at least deny a motion to contest it based on procedural legal grounds. But what happens next to the ACA when those same commercial interests try once again to repeal it with nothing at all to offer to resolve the crisis of inefficient and ineffective Healthcare in America that causes so much needless pain, loss, and human suffering?
Why would anyone oppose a public financing system to provide for the needs of our public health? At least anyone of conscience and morality, that is.
This week saw yet more activity at the state level to move forward with so-called Public Option plans, and even advocacy for developing their own state based Single Payer universal Healthcare systems. Are those regional efforts taking flight?
And more and more resolutions are being passed by cities, counties, school districts, state and local Democratic committees adding on to this momentum. Is any of this pushing the envelope beyond the call for MFA previously heard only from the followers of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders or The Squad?
And are the proposed budgetary fixes to Medicare that call for lowering eligibility age, adding benefits like dental, vision, and hearing care, and the very significant ability to negotiate down drug prices, are these things effectively pushing the envelope that will ultimately move the question of national Single Payer expanded and improved Medicare for All, at least once the roadblock of the McConnell-friendly Dems in the Senate is once and for all bypassed?
Time will tell, of course. Meanwhile, the struggle most certainly continues.