MFA and COVID19 Update – September 19, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This week, there are reporting delays in global new cases of #COVID19, however case numbers in most advanced countries at least, were declining, with the notable exceptions being of course the US and Turkey with slightly increasing numbers in both, and France with now leveling numbers.
And vaccinations continue to gain globally, this week with an estimated 31.8% of the total world population now thought to be fully vaccinated compared to last week’s 30%. Again, that compares with the US’s worst states for percentage vaccinated, mostly in the red states of course, which remain only in the upper 30’s to lower 40’s percent range for their populations vaccinated. For example, West Virginia reports now only 40.1% of its population vaccinated to date.
The world’s global south still lags behind in vaccinations. And while attention to vaccinate even more of our global neighbors is being drawn from the US and its wealthy global allies, especially while plans for “boosters” and vaccines for children under 12 are awaiting the science to support such moves, it should be noted that there remain even many Americans abroad, an estimated some 9 million in fact, whose access to the COVID19 vaccines are in doubt, and there are efforts currently being led by US Congressmember Raul Grijalva and others to address this particular need.
Be that as it may, COVID19 and its variants should at least have taught us by now that when it comes to pandemics, we are not ALL safe until we are ALL safe.
14,081 Americans died from COVID19 this week. That’s up almost two and a half thousand from 11,669 last week, and 10,800 the week before that. That’s an average of 2,011 deaths per day, with a total now of 673,637 cumulative US deaths for the pandemic to date.
And as we know, an estimated 40%, or 269,454 now of those who have died would be alive today if this country had the political will to put into place a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system of #UniversalHealthcare, or 5,632 victims of COVID this week alone who would still be alive if we had Medicare for All, now when we need it most.
This week once again saw a united front of Republicans and status quo Democrats fighting Medicare Expansion proposed in President Biden’s Build Back Better plan for the infrastructure package currently before Congress. That, even as Republican states in particular, where vaccines and other public health campaigns to combat COVID19 have been so poorly promoted, as to cause local medical systems to be overwhelmed with coronavirus cases. NBC news reported on Thursday, “The situation has grown so bad that the Idaho Department of Health and Wellness announced Thursday that the entire state is in a hospital resource crisis, permitting medical facilities to ration health care and triage patients.”
And in California this week, voters rejected a Republican attempt to recall the Democratic governor, in large measure because they see Gavin Newsom as having done those things that were needed to ensure the state did its part to mitigate the disease. They voted to not allow California to go the way of Florida, Texas, or Idaho in a “live free AND die” approach to what should be a call for everyone to act on behalf of the public good.
Meanwhile, medical misinformation continues to drive Americans to untested and unsafe methods for treatment and prevention. The Oregon Poison Center reports having managed 25 cases now of Ivermectin misuse in the last 6 weeks, 5 of whom required hospitalization, 2 of them so severe as to require ICU settings for their management.
How much of this is a result of the US having no coordinated system for primary care as the ultimate trusted source for legitimate medical information, of the kind that we know exists in the other advanced countries of the world that have Universal Healthcare to drive an effective public health campaign at times of extreme public need such as these, and who are doing so much better than we are by comparison in dealing with this pandemic?
More importantly, from a what-to-do-about-it perspective, is the question of who are these Republicans and status quo Democrats in the US, who are defending the commercial interests, resisting the very reasonable, and some would say far too incremental, changes of the Build Back Better plan as proposed, such as a comprehensive dental plan for seniors, and the ability for Medicare to negotiate down drug prices?
And how do we as the affected and afflicted public undo the outsized influence of the influence-peddlers in our political system, that continue their game of quid pro quo with these elected officials, that thanks to the US Supreme Court and other undemocratic institutions, has allowed for money to prevail over morality in this country?
Isn’t it past time for the political winds to blow the way of the people, instead of toward the money in Healthcare? And aren’t COVID19 and the other effects of Climate Change reason enough now to make that clear to us all?
The answers to these questions are within us.