MFA and COVID19 Update – May 16, 2021

May 17, 2021 | PDA Blog

By Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America

This week worldwide new cases of #COVID19 rose over 6 million from last week, with global deaths of over 100,000 this week alone due to the virus, that’s over double of last week’s deaths.  India’s crisis is thought to be leveling off now in numbers of new cases, although thousands more are still dying or have died there than have been previously reported, as corpses are now being found especially in small towns and villages across their countryside, washed up from shallow graves onto banks of rivers and streams in particular.

The B.1.617.2 variant, thought to be a significant cause of this latest crisis in India, has now been found in a single case here in the US, in the state of Maine.

But otherwise here in the US this week, while the overall rate of vaccinations for COVID19 is rising again, now especially with approval of shots for 12-year-olds and above, bringing our latest numbers to about 37% of the US population as a whole now fully vaccinated and some 47% having received at least one vaccine dose so far, we clearly have a way to go.

As a result, US COVID19 new cases and deaths, both declined again this week, bringing many regions into public health advisories in the “minimal” or “moderate” range, even prompting the CDC to release what they refer to as “fully vaccinated” individuals from having to wear masks in most public settings.  This was done, no doubt, as a tool to incentivize those who have remained reluctant for a variety of marginal reasons to get their vaccinations, although some may still suspect that it was done for political reasons, admittedly less likely now under Biden/Harris than it would have been under the Trump regime.

Nonetheless, the total US COVID19 cumulative deaths to date of 584,725 and the 3,669 who died this week alone due to the pandemic, or a mind-numbing 524 per day still dying, should be a sobering call to consciousness despite these newly re-instituted public freedoms.  And even more sobering, that little has been done to improve the non-vaccination COVID-care of universal testing, contact tracing, and treating competently comorbid medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease that are still making the US an outlier nation, with some 233,890 now of those total US COVID dead who would be alive today if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll (MFA) system in place.

To say that we as advocates for such a system in the US are frustrated — so that we might not have to be ashamed of our standing as the world’s leader in COVID19 worst possible outcomes, meaning having the highest COVID19 deaths, as well as other health indicators such a declining longevity overall, and declining infant and maternal mortalities overall – would of course be a colossal understatement.  

This crisis of confidence, not just in public leadership, but in the public systems that our leaders have allowed us to have in place to deal with existential threats such as this pandemic and the prospect of pandemics yet to come, is pushing this issue from one political void to the next.  What appears to have no political will to be done at the national level will by necessity, move to the states to be done, and if not by the states, then by local public agencies.

Ultimately, all politics is local.  And we who are able to, must bring the global down to the local.  We know MFA is all about healthier happier communities.  It will save money, not cost more, and it will save lives, lots of lives, especially at times of increased public health needs such as the kind we’ve all witnessed now firsthand with COVID19, and the kind that we will see again due to rising global temperatures.

Isn’t now exactly the right time for our leaders to lead on this?  And isn’t the best way to push these leaders, is to push from the bottom up, starting with cities, counties, school districts, and the states themselves who have the most to gain from weeding out the waste fraud and abuse of the profit-first commercial interests especially of big insurance and big pharma that are killing or bankrupting so many of us?

It’s not only time, it’s past time.

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