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Will The Pandemic Treaty Deliver Global Health Equity?

The next round of Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) negotiations for the Pandemic Treaty began on April 29, following two years of discussions. With the treaty text set to be finalized at the World Health Assembly at the end of May, uncertainties persist regarding the current state of negotiations, marked by numerous unresolved issues. The main question remains: will the Treaty genuinely fulfill its promise of equity and justice, or will it merely pay lip service to these ideals? In an effort to delve deeper into these concerns, Jyotsna Singh of People’s Health Dispatch interviewed Dr. Alexandra Phelan, a global health lawyer and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Vacant Storefronts Are Killing Our Downtowns

One of the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is the way it has transformed office use, threatening the viability of storefront retail in downtown office buildings. Owners of such commercial properties are now often exploring converting vacant retail space into restaurants and other experiential venues. But the range of alternative options needs to be expanded – and small-scale manufacturing offers a proven, yet often overlooked, solution. The need for alternative options is apparent from the scale of the problem. In the last quarter of 2023, the national office vacancy rate hit a record-breaking 19.6%, per Moody’s Analytics.

More Sanctions On Nicaragua Will Deepen US Migration Crisis

For Barbara Larcom and Jill Clark-Gollub, increased US economic warfare waged against Nicaragua will only translate into a worsening of the already delicate migration problem in the US and affect supply chains in Central American and Caribbean countries that trade with Nicaragua. The two activists from the Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition were interviewed by Orinoco Tribune last Wednesday, March 6. Barbara Larcom is the current chair of the Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition, an international alliance of organizations and individuals that support Nicaragua’s sovereignty.

Government Gag Rules Keep Vital Information From The Public

Reporting on the government institution charged with saving us from the Covid pandemic was restricted enough to leave real holes in what we knew. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—like many other organizations these days, public and private—prohibits its employees from speaking freely to reporters. At many entities, the rules mean staff members cannot have any unauthorized contact with reporters, with media inquiries often redirected to a public information office (PIO). The forced notification of the higher-ups is quite enough to silence many employees about anything that would displease the bosses.

Hawaii School Employees To Get Up To 25% In Pandemic Hazard Pay

An arbitration decision has determined public school employees in five bargaining units of the state’s largest union are entitled to back pay of up to 25% of their total salaries for as much as two years, according to the state’s largest union. The Hawaii Government Employees Association said the decision covers up to 7,800 Department of Education employees, including school nurses, office employees, and classroom educational assistants. “Those working in the DOE were some of the most exposed among public service employees, putting their own health – as well as that of their loved ones – at substantial risk to keep services running in Hawaii’s schools,” HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira said Tuesday in a written statement.

Cuba’s Humanitarian Crisis

Nine years ago, on December 17, 2014, jubilation swept the through the city of Havana when Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced that they would normalize US-Cuban relations, after 55 years of hostility. Church bells rang, cars honked their horns, and people hugged each other in the streets. Today, the mood in the city is one of desperation. The economy is spiraling downward, and US policy is exacerbating the growing humanitarian crisis. President Donald Trump’s tough economic sanctions drastically reduced Cuba’s foreign exchange earnings, and President Joe Biden has left most of those sanctions in place.

An Environmental Activist’s Guide To The Great Barrington Declaration

The Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) is standard issue libertarian free market ideology sanded down to fit the confines of public health – this document (coauthored by three highly credentialed academics: Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, and Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford) recommended that governments do nothing to combat a once in a century pandemic destined globally to obliterate as many as 27 million lives. The fever dream enshrined in every libertarian narrative holds that “self regulating forces” exhibit a mystical benevolence only realized when governments retreat, and defer to the “natural order.”

Poverty Rose In 2022 As Inflation Surged, Pandemic Aid Terminated

In the aftermath of pandemic relief programs such as increased unemployment and nutrition benefits, greater rental assistance and the child tax credit — policies which the Biden administration allowed to expire in 2021 — Americans faced the largest one-year increase of poverty on record. According to a report from the Census Bureau published on Sept. 12, the sharpest increase in poverty affected children, as child poverty more than doubled from a record low of 5.2 percent to now 12.4 percent. This was indicated by the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which “factors in the impact of government assistance and geographical differences in the cost of living.”

Health Activists Reveal Big Pharma’s Covid-19 Vaccine Heist In South Africa

In August this year, a coalition of civil society organizations in South Africa, which includes the Health Justice Initiative (HJI) and the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM), achieved a remarkable breakthrough in the discussion surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. This milestone was reached after the Pretoria High Court issued an order instructing the Department of Health to disclose the contracts and proceedings of meetings pertaining to the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer, Janssen, the Serum Institute of India, and the public-private global health partnership Gavi.

This Is How The Next Great American General Strike Happens

The next great general strike to captivate the United States will not be organized — it’ll be organic. And it could be the most transformative general strike this country has ever seen. Right now, the head of the Transport Workers Union of America is threatening to shut down the second-largest commuter railroad in the nation; striking SAG-AFTRA and WGA members want to break up Hollywood; and militants within the UAW are still keen on bringing the Big Three automakers to their knees. Add to that mix, increasingly-fed up Starbucks baristas and Amazon warehouse workers unable to organize or get a union contract.

RFK, Jr.: It’s Not Genetics, It’s Racial Capitalism

I know that opinions about COVID-19 and the vaccines related to it are still as varied as they are passionate, at least in the US where this government did absolutely nothing under two presidents to protect people and save lives in the midst of a global pandemic. But let me just be the one to say it if you were afraid to. Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s recent comments about the virus are wackadoodle, but should not be dismissed outright because of his dismissal of US racialized capitalism that fueled the deadly outcome of the pandemic in the US among certain groups of people.

The Unfolding Medicaid Disaster

As states have begun clearing out their Medicaid rolls for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly three quarters of the Americans who’ve lost coverage have been terminated not because they’re ineligible for the low-income health insurance program, but due to administrative reasons, such as failing to quickly respond to a piece of mail. In February, President Joe Biden bragged in his State of the Union speech that “more Americans have health insurance now than ever in history.” Biden made that comment six weeks after he set the stage to massively increase the United States’ uninsured population, when he signed legislation from Congress ending the pandemic-era requirement that states maintain Medicaid beneficiaries’ coverage in exchange for extra federal funding.

US Further Militarizes The Border As COVID-Era Restrictions Expire

On May 11, Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy, expired—precipitating a surge in migrants crossing the US–Mexico border. Title 42 used the COVID-19 public health emergency as an excuse to swiftly expel migrants to Mexico. The expiration of the policy has fueled a surge in migration across the Southern border as migrants reportedly are trying to get into the US either before Title 42 restrictions expire to avoid Biden’s new immigration measures, or after, fueled by a rumor that the end of Title 42 will make immigration easier. Although Biden campaigned on being more “humane” towards migrants, the Biden administration used Title 42 liberally, expelling over two million migrants before the policy expired.

Healthcare Activists Demand: Restore Covid-19 Protections Now!

Boston, Massachusetts - The Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity (Mass. CHE) held an online press conference on April 5 to demand the state keep protections against COVID-19 in place to safeguard health care workers, people with disabilities and the general population during the continuing pandemic. The conference was a response to Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healy’s decision to comply with the Biden administration’s decision to terminate the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) on May 11. Ending the PHE, which was initially declared by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in January 2020, will allow bosses at medical facilities in the U.S. privatized health care system to strip millions of health care workers and patients of safety measures, including masking, social distancing and surveillance testing.

Covid-19 Isn’t ‘Over’, But Medicaid Coverage Is About To Be For Millions

The Biden administration is poised to allow the national emergency on COVID-19 to expire on May 11, 2023. Once that occurs, between 5 to 14 million Americans previously covered under Medicaid will lose their insurance. Although the pandemic continues to rage, killing thousands and infecting hundreds of thousands each week, a bipartisan consensus has settled in Washington to simply pretend COVID-19 is “over.” What meager safety net was extended at the start of the pandemic is now being rolled back—leaving Americans to shoulder the risks and expenses of illness and death entirely on their own. Dr. Margaret Flowers joins The Chris Hedges Report to discuss the toll that COVID denialism will have on our society, and the generally outrageous state of US healthcare.
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