MFA and COVID19 Update – March 7, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This week despite overall cases leveling and death rates slowly declining worldwide, total cases of #COVID19 saw decreasing numbers in some countries like Russia, the UK, France, and Spain, but a continued leveling off in the US, and even more disturbingly, slight increases in India, Brazil, and Italy. Notwithstanding, the global rate of vaccinations is gaining, with over 52 million shots given this week compared to last week’s 39 million.
The US suffered only 12,137 deaths due to COVID19 this week, that’s an average of about 1,700 souls lost per day, which still seems like a phenomenally huge toll but is actually a new low for what we have seen in this fall/winter peak, and has given us a cumulative loss now of 523,970 Americans total who have died in the nearly one complete year of this pandemic thus far.
And what of that huge loss would have been spared, and those losses yet to come, with a national system of public health guided by a national health insurance such as a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll that a majority of Americans now favor? An astounding 40%, according to the recent published findings of the esteemed Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era, or 209,588 preventable US COVID19 deaths to date and counting. Whose wife, husband, mother, grandmother, father, grandfather, daughter, son, grandchild, aunt, uncle, cousin, or best and dearest friend is on that list of 209,588 that did not have to die if we had already had Medicare for All in place?
As vaccinations continue to roll out across this country, aren’t we still ignoring all of the other COVID-care that other universal Healthcare countries have done so well in using to mitigate their losses? How have they been able to provide universal testing and re-testing for their people, comprehensive contact tracing, the likes of which can’t be done in this country because of communications systems that are blocked from sharing data due to the proprietary interests of big insurance that make back-room deals with hospitals and large provider groups? And how have they managed the prioritization of resources to frontline workers of PPE, adequate staffing, and other types of anti-viral therapy that can only be done by having a robust public health system? One where the people are the decision-makers, not the profit-first commercial interests literally calling the shots, if and only if there’s money to be made in doing so?
Furthermore, we must be ever mindful that even if we do catch up with the cultural and digital divide that has made the vaccine roll-outs so inequitable at least early on, where so many especially in our #BIPOC communities were being left out by innovative methods for deploying the vaccine, once supplies were made adequate, we still need to address the medical issues that put our communities of color more at risk for bad outcomes, not just from #COVID, of course, but from all health conditions affected by social determinants. And we must always always always bring the discussion back to how Medicare for All addresses the inherent economic and racial oppression that has gotten us to where we are in that regard.
So, it seems obvious once again, especially now that we approach a complete year of COVID19, that a national discussion on Medicare for All can’t come a moment too soon, and along with that, a global discussion on extreme weather and the need now more than ever for a #GreenNewDeal.