MFA and COVID19 Update – September 4, 2022

Sep 5, 2022 | PDA Blog

photo: PDA’s Dr. Bill Honigman, MFA Rally at AMA Convention in Chicago, 2019.
Pictured left to right, Jim Carpenter, Dr Bill’s wife Carrie, Dr. Bill and Jim’s friend.


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



1,043,543 Total COVID19 deaths in US to date*

417,417 US COVID19 deaths prevented with MFA**

*Harvard University Daily Tracker

**Lancet Commission, Feb 2021

This week, world new cases of #COVID19, were reported to be leveling or declining at least in all advanced countries of the world, except in Russia which this week showed increased numbers.  With world deaths due to the virus an estimated 6.49 million, only about 63.3% of the world’s population is thought to be fully vaccinated, with only 67.7% having received at least one dose of vaccine, and sadly only 20.9% of those in low-income countries, predominantly of the global south, having received only the first dose of vaccine.

The United States is still the global leader in COVID19 deaths, with the Harvard University Daily Tracker now reporting that the U.S. total death toll is 1,043,543 lost souls to date.  And, as we’ve been tracking here since the Lancet Commission study was first published in February of 2021, this means that an estimated 417,417 Americans now have died from this pandemic to date, whose deaths would have been prevented if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll (MFA) system in place to provide adequate and equitable Healthcare to all in this country.  

That’s an additional 1,447 who died unnecessarily just this week from COVID19 in the U.S. because of political obstruction to having MFA.

The overall vaccination rate in this country remains at only 67.9% of our total population, and that ranks us globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, at #67 again this week, just behind Belarus and India, and just ahead of Sri Lanka and El Salvador, shockingly poor still compared to the other advanced countries of the world who consistently rank in the top 10 or 20 countries on vaccines.

And Wyoming continues to hold the status of worst vaccinated state in the U.S. at just 51.9%, the most uncivilized of our generally uncivilized and loosely united states.

These dismal public health stats come at a time when a new “multi-valent booster”, which covers both the Omicron variants as well as the original strain of COVID19 virus, was approved by both the FDA and CDC earlier this week, and is expected to now be available at clinics and pharmacies as early as this coming week.   

As the Washington Post reported just yesterday, despite the Biden administration now turning more to the “private sector” for COVID care more generally, this latest vaccine will still be made free to consumers.  However, public health experts remain skeptical that Americans will avail themselves of this treatment in sufficient numbers, as COVID booster uptake “so far has been underwhelming” with for example only 22 million of the 62 million people over the age of 50 who are eligible for a second booster, having received that one so far.  Or despite good science to the contrary, as WaPo put it, “many may feel that a couple of shots is enough”.

So once again, we must ask even if corporate media and status quo politicians won’t, where are the trusted personal sources needed to carry this important messaging to the people of this country?  And what exactly can we expect as the “private sector” is given the task of managing even this vital role in public health administration?

Meanwhile, the Post further reports that despite significant daily death tolls here due to COVID and even the prospects of as many as 1-in-5 infected persons contracting the potentially debilitating complication of “long COVID”, public precautions are being abandoned with only a contingent of the public remaining “COVID-cautious”, continuing mask use and limiting their contact with others.

Again, without Universal Healthcare to back up the science, how can we expect Americans to take these precautions seriously?  We can’t, really.

All of this with limited response to the Monkeypox pandemic, new state-imposed restrictions on abortion care, the ongoing crises of opiate overdose and gun violence, have rightly turned attention to reports this week of U.S. life expectancy which has dropped precipitously in the last 2 years.  This news has been widely reported now and has seemed shocking to many, blaming especially COVID as the leading cause.  

However, what’s not generally acknowledged in all of this reporting is that it’s been our phenomenally poor response to the public health emergency of the virus, rather than the virus itself, that has caused the resultant death rate and drop in life expectancy here in the U.S.  In particular, what’s not explicitly mentioned is that countries with Healthcare systems controlled by public entities, not commercial ones, they have not dropped their life expectancies like we have.

How much longer will this stay a state secret in American political culture?  Too long, to be sure.

Finally, on that note of acknowledgment of the fractious political state here in the U.S. and relating now to this Labor Day Holiday weekend, it was noted by Gallup polling this week that approval ratings for labor unions is now rising, and is up from 64% prior to the pandemic, now at 71% of Americans who approve of organized labor.  This comes at a time when organized worker actions are making headlines including looming strikes among Healthcare workers in states like CA and MN, where nurses, clinicians, and support staff are calling for more resources for patient care, as well as for recruitment, retention, and increased wages and benefits.  

It’s about doing what’s right, for workers and consumers alike.  And when it comes to Healthcare, it’s about saving lives, and saving money, as of course we here all know will happen with Medicare for All.

So, onward and solidarity, for Healthcare Justice!

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Watch the previous PDA Healthcare Emergency Town Halls here.

Watch the previous PDA Sunday Progressive Town Halls here.