MFA and COVID19 Update – May 1, 2022
By Dr. Bill Honigman, Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
COVID & MFA REALITY CHECK May 1st, 2022
992,063 Total COVID19 deaths in US to date*
396,825 US COVID19 deaths prevented with MFA**
This week, world new cases of #COVID19 and the #Omicron variant continued to decline in most areas, except most notably slight increases in the U.S. and India, and leveling in Brazil, Germany, and Italy. Global deaths have now surpassed 6.2 million, and some 59.1% of the world’s population is thought to be currently fully vaccinated, although still much lower numbers are vaccinated in the poorer global south.
Otherwise, there were reports from South Africa this week that Omicron sub BA.4 and BA.5 were causing a new surge in case numbers there, and China has released new information revealing that they have had a recent Omicron surge which has continued despite their heavy-handed “zero-COVID policy”.
Meanwhile, domestically, despite some rise in rate of new infections here in the U.S., still largely caused by the Omicron BA.2 variant, those severe enough to result in hospitalizations and deaths have continued at a low enough level such that our leading authorities have pronounced us to be “past the pandemic phase” of COVID19. While those at risk, especially the unvaccinated and immunocompromised, remain of most concern, we must still be mindful that large numbers of us, are also at risk due to poorly treated chronic medical conditions, or inadequate and inequitable access to medical care in general, and need to remain vigilant in our pursuit of political solutions to deal not only with this public health crisis, but also for those yet to come.
If fact, precisely because of our politics of privilege, the U.S. still remains the world leader in COVID19 deaths. With a total of 992,063 U.S. COVID19 deaths reported to date, that’s an additional 2,332 who died just this week of the disease. It also means that an estimated 396,825 Americans who have died from this pandemic, according to public health experts, would still be alive today if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system in place to correct those inadequacies and inequities.
That’s science that tells us that, and it’s politics that must fix that problem.
Meanwhile, overall vaccination rate in this country remains at a sad 66.7% of our total population. That’s well behind all of the other advanced countries, on this most important public health measure, ranking us once again at #62 this week, just behind Nepal, and just ahead of Nicaragua. And Alabama remains the “worst state” for COVID vaccination status in the U.S. at just 51.1%, still a full eight percentage points less than the world average. Shameful, really, and downright dangerous. Alabama is also, by the way, third lowest in life expectancy by state in the U.S.
So, what is it that the working class of America should focus on now, on this May Day of 2022, to undo this national nightmare left us in the wake of COVID19?
On the Healthcare horizon are three things to be hopeful about.
First, directly on the COVID19 front, the makers of the Moderna vaccine have finally applied for emergency use status with the FDA for children under age 6, and approval is expected with shots in arms hopefully to begin next month. Hurray!
This will greatly reduce the number of new cases being brought home to susceptible family members as well as to the children themselves, bring a great deal of relief to worried parents and other relatives, and lower viral transmission rates across the board, to hopefully, significantly suppress the formation of new mutations and even yet more contagious variants. This is long awaited and long needed.
Secondly, more generally, word has it that U.S. Senator from Vermont and Chair of the Senate Budget Committee Bernie Sanders will, in the next week or two, be introducing his new Senate companion bill for National Medicare for All, that has been held up for most of this congressional session now due to emergency COVID relief and Build Back Better attempts. The irony of what is most needed to save money and save lives during this time of tremendous challenge, being held back for the sake of other measures, won’t escape this audience, but it’s still great to hear and will be great to see and get behind, including the expected hearing of the bill that Senator Sanders has promised at least in his own Senate committee of jurisdiction. And it’s definitely worthy of our all messaging to our U.S. Senators of our demand that they cosponsor this legislation.
Finally, what should be giving us all great hope, is the unprecedented number of outstanding candidates advocating for Medicare for All in these midterm elections. So many of them, at all levels of government now, have prioritized the issue of #HealthcareJustice, particularly in light of our shared national tragedy of inadequate and inequitable response to the COVID19 pandemic, especially for the working class in America, and have settled on Medicare for All as the solution that makes sense from an economic and moral perspective. They know and are well able to articulate, that the time is right to do what is right, and they’re willing to put every effort that they can into this fight, and lead the way for the rest of us to help.
Now is the time, and we are the ones to make it happen.
Thanks again, and onward!