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Public Health

China And The US Response To Covid-19

In May and June of 2022 two milestones were passed in the world’s battle with Covid and were widely noted in the press, one in the US and one in China.  They invite a comparison between the two countries and their approach to combatting Covid-19. The first milestone was passed on May 12 when  the United States registered over 1 million total deaths (1,008,377 as of June 19, 2022, when this is written) due to Covid, the highest of any country in the world.  Web MD expressed its sentiment in a piece headlined: “US Covid Deaths Hit 1 Million: ‘History Should Judge Us.’” Second, on June 1, China emerged from its 60-day lockdown in Shanghai in response to an outbreak there, the most serious since the Wuhan outbreak at the onset of the pandemic. 

In A World Of Great Disorder And Extravagant Lies

These are deeply upsetting times. The COVID-19 global pandemic had the potential to bring people together, to strengthen global institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO), and to galvanize new faith in public action. Our vast social wealth could have been pledged to improve public health systems, including both the surveillance of outbreaks of illness and the development of medical systems to treat people during these outbreaks. Not so. Studies by the WHO have shown us that health care spending by governments in poorer nations has been relatively flat during the pandemic, while out-of-pocket private expenditure on health care continues to rise.

What The US Can Learn From Cuba’s Coronavirus Response

International comparisons to U.S. health outcomes make clear that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) cannot reliably suggest a healthcare system’s quality. Defined by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as “a monetary measure of the value of final goods and services,” GDP tells us nothing about the efficiency of health services or the accessibility of critical medical care such as vaccination, hospitalization and basic health exams – all important determinants of a healthcare system’s adaptability when emergencies put pressure on our health infrastructure. This is particularly true in the case of Cuba.

Drug Decriminalization Is Working In Oregon

As COVID-19 continues to rage, another health crisis persists — one that is decades long. In the first year of the pandemic, the United States hit the devastating milestone of 100,000 overdose deaths, a nearly 28.5 percent surge from the record numbers we saw the previous year. Now, fentanyl is the leading cause of death in Americans ages 18-45. The reaction from many of our leaders has been to call for more arrests and criminalization, but this response is rooted in fear, not science. We have spent the last 50 years trying to treat a public health issue with a criminalization response, yet people are dying of overdose at record rates. This response is clearly not working. The evidence is clear: Criminalization worsens public health outcomes.

New Gates Foundation Trustee Led Plot To Overthrow Zimbabwean Leader

n a shake-up of an institution named for one of the world’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa was appointed to the Gates Foundation’s board of trustees this January. He will be joined on the board by a seemingly diverse cast of corporate elites known for their embrace of technocratic and neoliberal policies. Back in 2007, Masiryiwa helped orchestrate a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe alongside the US and the Zimbabwean opposition party it was backing, the Movement for Democratic Transition. Both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency were made aware of the regime change plans by the Zimbabwean telecom magnate Masiyiwa, and were advised by the US embassy in Pretoria, South Africa to share “elements” of the US government’s “strategy” with him.

Where Is The 100,000-Strong Public Health Corps Biden Promised Us?

A year after Joe Biden’s inauguration, things seem bleak. Despite the existence of life-saving vaccines, tests and masks, on January 21, more than 3,000 people were reported to have died of Covid-19, and the last time daily deaths were below 1,000 was in August. With the more transmissible Omicron variant spreading like wildfire, and only 63% of the country with two doses of the vaccine (only 43% of adults with their booster), things may continue to get worse before they get better. Hospitals are filled to the brim while schools and industries deal with absences. Clearly, we need a policy reset. We need to provide people with the resources and information they need to get through this surge and the rest of the pandemic.

Public Health Professionals Must Demand An End To Weaponized Drones

On January 13, 2017, a family including a husband, wife and three small children scurried from building to building in East Mosul, Iraq. They were seeking refuge as a battle between ISIS (also known as Daesh) and U.S.-backed forces swirled around them. The family was huddled in an abandoned school surrounded by other civilians when a U.S.-operated drone struck and destroyed the structure. The father and one of his sons narrowly escaped with their lives. The tragic fate of his wife and other children would not be confirmed until months later when he watched as their bodies were excavated from the rubble. This account was just one of several described in a recent publication of Pentagon reports documenting the extensive civilian casualties resulting from U.S. drone and air strikes.

China Tests 12.5 Million In Zhengzhou For Covid In Six Hours

On Friday, Chinese health authorities began testing every single resident of Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s central Henan Province, after a handful of COVID-19 cases were detected in the massive city of 12.5 million. Just six hours later, they were finished, achieving a rate of 2.1 million people tested per hour, or 583 residents per second, according to the Global Times. For comparison, that is equal to New York City and Chicago combined. On Sunday, health officials set about trying to do it again with the even larger city of Tianjin, home to 14 million people. China’s National Health Commission reported a total of 157 new cases in all of mainland China on Sunday, 97 of which were domestically transmitted. Of those 97, 60 were in Henan, including 24 in Zhengzhou, and 21 cases in Tianjin, a port city southeast of Beijing. The city also said over the weekend that it had detected two cases of Omicron.

NYC Public High School Student: ‘The Situation Is Beyond Control’

As the Omicron variant continues to surge, despite 90,132 new positive cases reported in New York on Saturday and one in three Covid-19 tests coming back positive in New York City, schools have been forced to stay open with insufficient safety measures as many students, and staff continue to test positive. Eleven members of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Solidarity Caucus filed a lawsuit seeking mandatory remote learning until all students and workers can be tested, but Mayor Eric Adams continues to insist that schools must stay open at all costs, and even that schools are the safest place for students to be. Students and teachers are being forced to return to extremely unsafe conditions so that parents can go back to work and the economy can go “back to normal.”

New Study Finds The US Military Is Spreading Disease Around The World

A new study out of York University in Toronto, Canada finds that the US military plays a large role in the spread of diseases globally, including past and present pandemics. Clearing the FOG speaks with one of the lead authors, K J Noh, an expert analyst on the geopolitics of the Asian-Pacific region and health, about the study. Important factors in the spread of disease are Status Agreements that the US military makes with local and national governments that exempt members of the military from being required to follow public health measures and a culture of impunity within the military that leads to members defying all public health restrictions, even those measures imposed by the military. Noh also explains how the weaponization of disease is causing harm to everyone and why the US establishment doesn't want the public to know there are governments designed to serve their populations.

Amid Overdose Crisis, Public Health Groups Urge Congress To Pass Life-Saving Bills

Two weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released sobering statistics showing a record-breaking number of drug overdoses in the U.S. in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 260 advocacy groups called on lawmakers Tuesday to urgently pass public health proposals to mitigate the crisis. Led by the Drug Policy Alliance, People's Action, the National Harm Reduction Coalition, and VOCAL-NY, the organizations said the unprecedented number of overdoses in the 12-month period ending in April 2021 was "grim, but not unexpected" considering the criminalization of drug use in the United States and lack of resources for people with drug use disorders.

NY Times Advises China On Covid-19: Abandon Success, Try Failure

The recent outbreak of the Delta variant in China “shows that its strategy no longer fits. It is time for China to change tack.” So declared a lead essay atop the New York Times Opinion/Editorial section on Sept. 7 by Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.  The Delta outbreak that “changed the game” in Huang’s words emerged after an outbreak at Nanjing international airport in July traced to a flight from Russia.  Did this outbreak change anything in fact?  Let’s do the numbers.  Let’s do something that Huang did not; let’s look at the numbers from July 1 until Sept. 7 the date of the article, a period that brackets the Delta outbreak cited by Huang. During that period China experienced 273 new cases, about 4 per day, and no new deaths. That hardly seems like a failure.

Most States Have Cut Back Public Health Powers Amid Pandemic

Republican legislators in more than half of U.S. states, spurred on by voters angry about lockdowns and mask mandates, are taking away the powers that state and local officials use to protect the public against infectious diseases. A Kaiser Health News review of hundreds of pieces of legislation found that, in all 50 states, legislators have proposed bills to curb such public health powers since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While some governors vetoed bills that passed, at least 26 states pushed through laws that permanently weaken government authority to protect public health. In three additional states, an executive order, ballot initiative or state Supreme Court ruling limited long-held public health powers. More bills are pending in a handful of states whose legislatures are still in session.

Learn From The East – A Major Lesson Of The Pandemic.

The world is now in the throes of another wave of Covid-19, with another surge in infections, sickness and deaths, this time due to the more infectious and apparently more lethal Delta variant. Are there lessons to be learned from the previous waves of Covid-19 that might help us now? There are, and they were evident long ago, but in the West, they have been largely ignored.  Up to now, for example, the US has suffered over 617,000 deaths; China in contrast has suffered fewer than 5,000 deaths in a population four times as large as the US.  Could there not be some lessons that might serve us in the West now and in the future? In the US and throughout the West, the response to China’s success has all too often been to ignore or deny it.

The Vaccine Must Be A Common Good For Humanity

Nearly three million people have reportedly been killed by the novel coronavirus (SAR-CoV-2) and upwards of 128 million people have been infected by the virus, many with long-lasting health repercussions. Thus far, roughly 1.5% of the world’s population of 7.7 billion have been vaccinated, but 80% of them are from only ten countries. In February, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research warned about the ‘medical apartheid’ that has shaped the vaccine roll-out. Since 1950, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has celebrated Global Health Day on 7 April. Each year, the WHO choses a different theme for the day, with last year’s being ‘Support Nurses and Midwives’. This year, the theme is ‘Building a fairer, healthier world’, which goes to the heart of medical apartheid.
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