MFA and COVID19 Update – March 28, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This week worldwide #COVID19 showed a troubling end to declining numbers and now leveling, rising, or even spiking numbers of total cases in all leading countries. Brazil in particular, is arguably the global leader with about 4,000 deaths per day now, and accounts for about one quarter of the global daily deaths due to COVID19, which is far more than any other single nation.
There seems to be universal acceptance that this is due to President Jair Bolsonaro’s continuous Trump-like undermining of public health measures in their country leading them to be now on track to reach 500,000 dead by July, and even overcome the US death toll due to COVID19 by year end.
Here in the US, deaths due to COVID19 lagged behind the now rising overall case numbers showing a lower number of lives lost than last week’s at only 6,884 for the week, compared to last week’s 7,589 dead, which brings the US total for the pandemic to date to 548,377, of which an estimated 219,350 US COVID deaths that we know would have been prevented if we had had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll in place at the time of onset of this public health emergency, as was noted by the distinguished panel of experts on the Lancet Commission on Health Policy previously mentioned in these posts.
All of that is in despite of the fact that the US continues to set new records in vaccinations, with a single-day record set just this last Friday, March 26th, and a 7-day average of vaccine doses given now at approximately 2.6 million per day. Per the CDC, that amounts to about 89.5 million Americans or about 27% of the population who have received at least one dose of a COVID19 vaccine, and about 48.7 million now or about 14.7% of the population who have been fully vaccinated so far.
Nonetheless, there is much concern over recently worsening numbers generally ascribed to the emergence of the new more contagious COVID variants, persistent vaccine refusal – estimated in one recent study to be prevalent among about 50% of Republican men, and laxity of public health measures especially in certain parts of the country, which have been well publicized and politicized. That has now resulted in a more than 10% increase in case numbers and more than two dozen states trending now in the wrong direction, including in places previously hard hit, like New York and New Jersey.
Michigan appears to be the state suffering most from the recent severe outbreak, with its 14-day rolling average of recorded cases having spiked this week by about 25%. This trend has now prompted the CDC’s Dr. Rachelle Walensky to say that we should be taking this very seriously, noting that we could certainly go “…from historic declines to stagnations and increases… We know from prior surges that if we don’t control things now, there is a real potential for the epidemic to soar again.”
Also of note are some recent exposes that include statements from the previous Health officials of the Trump administration now admitting that a great many of the COVID19 deaths would actually have been prevented if they had responded earlier in the pandemic, including Dr. Deborah Birx who is now saying that is actually true of the “vast majority” of US COVID19 deaths. And a Columbia University team has modeled the delayed US response concluding that number to be more precisely about 84% of deaths would have been prevented.
This is actually not news to us in these pages. We at Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) pointed out within weeks of the first suggestion that COVID19 had gone from epidemic to pandemic, that the other advanced countries around the world were responding in exactly the right way, and we were not and are still not. That they were prioritizing universal and periodic COVID testing and contact tracing, and we were not and are still not. And that they were providing all manner of anti-COVID treatments completely free at the point-of-service, far more than just vaccines, including care for all medical co-morbid conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and we did not and are still not.
We have pointed out actually at almost every one of our weekly writings that the only way to achieve that level of Healthcare emergency response is to have a public health system with the public in control of prioritizing and allocating the resources needed to do those things. And the only way to do that is to eliminate the waste fraud and abuse of profit-first commercial interests especially of big insurance and big pharma in American Healthcare, and set into place a system of truly universal Healthcare where ALL of the people get ALL of the care. And the way to do that at this juncture in our political history is to pass and enact #HR1976 the National Medicare for All Act of 2021.
So, what’s stopping us from doing that, especially now when so many are still needlessly suffering and dying? Clearly as yet still far too many of our elected public officials demonstrate an outrageous lack of political will, and this specifically among the Democrats in Congress that we all worked so hard to help get elected for exactly this purpose, to move us forward on issues of peace and social justice such as this. Clearly as well, we are still under the thumb of corporate cash and influence peddling in the halls of Congress that shows no regard for the very lives from which they extract their fortunes.
So much so in fact that our great friends and partners in the movement the National Nurse United have now identified 21 members of the House of Representatives that we should all call recognize and call attention to as receivers of the most corporate welfare from the medical industrial complex. I call them the “Twisted Twenty-One”, and quickly let me call them out to you here by name. They are…
These soulless uncaring, cruel and craven, 21 Democrats in the US House of Representatives, or the “Twisted Twenty-One”, have now at this moment in our history earned the right to be singled out for accepting the most money from those status quo institutions resisting the change that we know will save money, lots of money, and save lives, lots of lives, as couldn’t be more apparent than now as we’ve seen could have been done and still could be done under COVID19.
Clearly, it’s past time we shined the light of public scrutiny on this practice of accepting corporate blood money, and offered to them the alternative they only need to look as far as their own newly elected White House to emulate. We suggest that they not ignore, or make themselves numb to, those lives already lost, or yet to be lost, from COVID19, or to those pandemics yet to come, see the wisdom now of joining in this movement and do what’s right for everyone in this great land of ours, and enact Single Payer expanded and improved Medicare for All.
For as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us, “The time is always right to do what is right.”