American citizens pride themselves for living in a country that most of them believe is superlative — freest, most powerful, most entrepreneurial. Yet despite the spheres where it has high standing, the United States ranks dismally among its peer nations when it comes to deaths from COVID-19. “Dismal” might not be a strong enough adjective, actually: the U.S. ranked dead last among its peer nations, with the most deaths per capita. The data comes from a new study published in the medical journal JAMA, which also analyzed state-by-state vaccination and public health data. Alarmingly, researchers noted that if every state in the United States had the same vaccination rates as those states with the highest vaccination rates, more than 100,000 lives would have been saved.
Several human rights organizations submitted a 31-page complaint to United Nations experts today, alleging that the United States is committing torture and violating the prohibition against racial discrimination by condemning people to death by incarceration through extreme sentences including life and life without possibility of parole (LWOP). The groups, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Drop LWOP Coalition and the Abolitionist Law Center, are urging the UN to call for the abolition of all death by incarceration sentences. “Death by incarceration is the devastating consequence of a cruel and racially discriminatory criminal legal system that is designed not to address harm, violence, and its root causes, but to satisfy the political pressure to be tough on crime,” the complaint states.
Americans spend more on health care than people in any other nation. Yet in any given year, the piecemeal nature of the American medical insurance system causes many preventable deaths and unnecessary costs. Not surprisingly, COVID-19 only exacerbated this already dire public health issue, as evidenced by the U.S.’s elevated mortality, compared with that of other high-income countries. A new study quantifies the severity of the impact of the pandemic on Americans who did not have access to health insurance. According to findings published on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, from the pandemic’s beginning until mid-March 2022, universal health care could have saved more than 338,000 lives from COVID-19 alone.
The number of Americans dying while homeless has surged dramatically in the past five years, an exclusive analysis by the Guardian in conjunction with an academic expert at the University of Washington has shown. An examination of 20 US urban areas found the number of deaths among people living without housing shot up by 77% in the five years ending in 2020. The rise from 2016 through 2020 was driven by many factors, including ever-rising numbers of people living on the street and the growing dangers they face, such as violence, untreated disease and increasingly deadly illicit drug supplies. From 65-year-old Randy Ferris, killed when a car veered into a California sidewalk encampment, Justine Belovoskey, 60, who died alone in a tent during a Texas cold snap, and Anthony Denico Williams, stabbed to death at age 20 in Washington DC, to scores of young people succumbing to overdoses on the streets, their stories reflect the harrowing tragedy of an epidemic of homelessness.
As the Omicron variant causes record levels of infection in the United States, the end of the pandemic seems as far away as ever. But far from preparing a robust response to defeat the virus, the Biden administration is preparing to surrender and encourage the public to “learn to live with” COVID indefinitely. When the Party for Socialism and Liberation pointed out the fact that China has in fact succeeded at virtually eliminating deaths from the virus, we were attacked by far-right pundits like Ben Shapiro – who took the position that such a feat is essentially impossible and asserted that China’s achievement was just a massive falsification. In the United States, which has seen more deaths from the disease than any other country on Earth, there were 476,863 new deaths in 2021, up from 370,777 in 2020.
It was the most extreme heat wave on record in the Pacific Northwest. And as officials count the heat-related deaths over the next weeks, it will almost certainly turn out to be one of the deadliest. In Vancouver, British Columbia, police responded to at least 65 sudden deaths suspected to be heat-related. And the province’s chief coroner said Wednesday that at least 486 deaths likely linked to the heat had been reported since Friday. The residents of one British Columbia community, Lytton, where a temperature of 121 degrees Fahrenheit was higher than any ever recorded in Canada, were ordered to evacuate because of an encroaching wildfire. “We’ve never seen anything like this, and it breaks our hearts,” said Sgt. Steve Addison, a spokesman for the Vancouver police department.
In Keewaywin First Nation, a remote community in Northwestern Ontario of about 500 people, it won’t be dark enough to set off Canada Day fireworks until 11 p.m. But, this July 1, there won’t be any. Instead, there will be a candlelight vigil outside the band office, as the community foregoes its traditional holiday activities to honour the hundreds of Indigenous children and adults believed to be buried in unmarked graves recently uncovered at former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. On Wednesday, the Ktunaxa community of Aqam, in B.C., announced that a preliminary search had discovered another 182 burial sites, which they said may belong to children who attended the nearby St. Eugene Mission residential school.
Burning fossil fuels kills nearly 9 million people worldwide and an estimated 350,000 in the U.S. every year, according to a new study by scientists from Harvard and three British universities. The staggering death toll is more than double the WHO's 2017 estimate of deaths caused by air pollution. "There's a perception in the United States that we have this under control, but that's a mistake," Joel Schwartz, a Harvard professor and one of the study's authors, told the Boston Globe. Based on data from 2018, the scientists found nearly one-in-five deaths that year — and nearly a third of deaths in eastern Asia — were caused by burning fossil fuels.
Two men died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody on August 5. One of the men died in a hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19, while the other died in his cell of a massive intercranial hemorrhage. These tragedies increased the total deaths in ICE custody this fiscal year to 17, the highest number since 2006. Many—if not all—of the deaths that occur in ICE custody are avoidable. More than twice as many people have died in ICE custody this year than last year. Unfortunately, with 1,065 active COVID-19 cases in ICE detention, that number will likely increase before the fiscal year ends in September.
More than 165,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The US passed the grim statistic of 5 million cases of COVID-19 earlier this month. As horrifying as these figures are, a new analysis shows that the number of deaths from the coronavirus likely has been significantly undercounted. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed by the New York Times have revealed that 200,700 people died from March 15, when the pandemic took hold, to July 25. This is 54,000 higher than the confirmed death toll, averaged, for the same time period in the previous three years.
Anesthesiologist Claire Rezba, scrolling through the news on her phone, was dismayed. “I felt like her sacrifice was really great and her child’s sacrifice was really great, and she was just this anonymous woman, you know? It seemed very trivializing.” For days, Rezba would click through Google, searching for a name, until in late March, the news stories finally supplied one: Diedre Wilkes. And almost without realizing it, Rezba began to keep count. The next name on her list was world-famous, at least in medical circles: James Goodrich, a pediatric neurosurgeon in New York City and a pioneer in the separation of twins conjoined at the head. One of his best-known successes happened in 2016, when he led a team of 40 people in a 27-hour procedure to divide the skulls and detach the brains of 13-month-old brothers. Rezba, who’d participated in two conjoined-twins cases during her residency, had been riveted by that saga. Goodrich’s death on March 30 was a gut-punch; “it just felt personal.” Clearly, the coronavirus was coming for health care professionals, from the legends like Goodrich to the ones like Wilkes who toiled out of the spotlight and, Rezba knew, would die there.
COVID-19 could claim the lives of approximately 100,000 more people than current projections stipulate if jail populations are not dramatically and immediately reduced, according to a new epidemiological model released by the ACLU and academic research partners. The findings indicate that — even if communities across the United States continue practicing social distancing and following public health guidance — we will still experience much higher death rates if no substantial action is taken to reduce jail populations. The United States' unique obsession with incarceration has become our Achilles heel when it comes to combatting the spread of COVID-19. The ACLU model used data pulled from more than 1,200 midsize and large jail systems around the country, whose surrounding communities account for 90 percent of the U.S. population.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, China responded quickly by reporting the novel disease to the World Health Organization and taking steps to identify and study the virus. Within a matter of weeks, it was clear that the virus was a serious public health matter. China then mobilized its resources and took an aggressive public health approach to contain the spread and care for those who became ill. For this, the US chastised China, calling it "authoritarian" and "draconian," instead of learning from the success of China. So far, China has controlled the virus, keeping the total number of cases below 82,000 and the number of deaths in the low 3,000's. Today, they are easing the quarantine, opening businesses back up and slowly returning to normal activity. The World Health Organization sent a mission to China that commended the government for its actions.