MFA and COVID19 Update – November 29, 2020
By Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This week, there is once again monumentally continued bad news as worldwide new cases of COVID19 and deaths due to COVID19 increased by about 4 times last weeks’ increases. Also, again this week, the U.S., Russia, and Brazil lead in increasing numbers of cases while the other advanced and apparently smarter countries of the world decline in cases due to their more stringently applied public health measures.
Total US COVID19 deaths are now at about 266,000, with daily and weekly rates of deaths now at levels not seen since the first peak of the pandemic back in late April and early May. Hospitalization rates in this country are even higher yet, of course, as survivability once hospitalized has improved since those early months of last spring. And experts predict even more of a surge of delayed cases, and resultant hospitalizations and deaths, due to those who traveled and met with others over this holiday weekend, against even the most ardent public health advisories.
Nonetheless, Congress and the entire federal government remain paralyzed into inaction for medical or economic relief to the masses, and no states, large or small, seem to be able to do much better on their own.
So, are we “rounding the corner into calamity” on COVID19 as one physician/professor was recently quoted as having said, with these rising death tolls and economic strife, or is there a cure on the horizon? And if there is one, how far off on the horizon is that cure?
Reports now of potential vaccines for this novel coronavirus from sources both foreign and domestic, seem to be barraging us with information difficult if not impossible to assess. How safe, how effective, how available, how costly will these treatments be? Or in the format of a question that’s always reasonable to ask one’s medical providers, what are the risks versus benefits versus alternatives of these vaccines?
And beyond the medical questions, what about those of policy and politics? How credible are the information sources being used to decide upon mass distribution and allocation of precious resources needed for such? And what and by whom will these decisions be made, and how quickly? Because if hindsight is any indication there is at least the potential for colossal failure in this new phase of our response to this deadly and costly public health challenge just as there has been already in the early phases of testing, contact tracing, protecting our frontline workers, and the other initial treatments that should have been practiced but weren’t precisely or adequately done as needed because we don’t have Medicare for All, and a competent public agency to manage that type of resource allocation and prioritization.
Ultimately, even the best vaccine against COVID19 will only be effective if it gets to ALL of us. And wouldn’t the “for all” part of Medicare for All accomplish exactly that?