Ending a Global Pandemic Should Not Rely on “Individual Responsibility”

After more than a year, the pandemic continues to ravage the world. The Omicron variant is rapidly spreading around the world and is now the dominant version of Covid in the U.SAn estimated 73 per cent of new cases are handled by the U.S. The U.S. has an average of over 213,751 new Covid cases per dayThis is equivalent to 85 percent of cases during peak, when the highest daily average was reported January 7, 2021.

While it is still unclear if Omicron causes more severe symptoms than other strains of Covid, it’s clear based on the variant’s high transmissibility The sheer number of infections poses a serious threat to the most vulnerable people in the population. In just six short weeks, there has been a 39 percent increase Covid-related hospitalizations in all parts of the country, probably due to the spread Omicron and Delta variants.

It is criminal that there has been no public health-based approach to this pandemic despite all the time. Instead, the Biden administration has chosen to place all responsibility on each individual’s decision to vaccinate, implicitly blaming those who have not been vaccinated for the ongoing pandemic. After facing heavy criticism for his administration’s incompetent management of the Omicron surge, Biden recently addressed the status of the pandemicThis is why he emphasized the importance of this narrative. He said, “If you’re vaccinated, you’ve done the right thing, celebrate holidays as you’ve planned them.”

Biden also pledged 500 million Covid rapid tests for free in the same address. This may seem like an enormous number, but 500 million tests will only be available for about a year. a monthIt is possible to miss positive cases due to a limited supply. This can lead to a lack of detection. A person may test negative for Covid after being exposed. However, they might then test positive for the virus after it has had time to replicate and reaches a detectable level. Biden’s pledge, with no promise of an ongoing supply of tests, is laughably and criminally inadequate. The tests won’t be available for at most a few weeks. This is far too late to deal effectively with the Omicron surge. They will not be available immediately, but gradually. batchesThe vast majority of people who need a quick Covid test don’t have one.

Biden was a constant critic of Trump during his candidacy. But, since taking office, he has concentrated almost exclusively on a “vaccination only” strategy. Abbott, a manufacturer of Covid tests, even destroyed millions of tests Because of the lower demand in August 2021, the administration could have been planning for the completely predictable holiday surge and increase in testing requirements. This illustrates how the incentives of a capitalist system of health are fundamentally opposed to the goals and production of lifesaving technology. What is” rational” from the standpoint of capital is a stupid and deadly mistake for public health.

Biden promised to open federal testing sites across the country, but provided no provisions for people to get paid time off, leaving workers to “figure it out” at the mercy of their employers. As Bree Newsome Bass pointed outThe working class and the poor often cannot afford to take time off from work to wait for testing. Even if people are able to obtain tests, delays in the delivery of PCR results is partly due to a lack of lab facilities. This makes it difficult for people to interpret and act on test results. more difficult.

Despite all of Biden’s talk about “plans” to fight the pandemic, the United States has yet to establish a coordinated system for tracing cases and isolating those who test positive. It is up to individuals to inform close friends of positive results and to isolate them to the best of their abilities. After years of experience, it is not surprising that there has been an increase in the number of positive test results. gutting public health systems in an endless effort to “cut costs,” the CDC does not even have the epidemiological infrastructure It is difficult to accurately track outbreaks. The American government relies on data from other countries for this purpose.

With its vaccine hoarding and exploitative “back to work” attitude, the United States government is only interested in ending the pandemic as long as it can also profit from it. The current administration has wrongly placed all the blame for the current pandemic state on the unvaccinated. This narrative was exemplified in the recent callous statement from the White House Covid Response Team, which preemptively blamed the unvaccinated for “a winter of severe illness and death,” and for overcrowding and overwhelming hospitals.

But in the absence of other public health measures, “vaccination only” has proven not to be the magic cure that the Biden administration insists it is.

Omicron spreads like wildfire in New York City despite the fact that there are higher vaccination rates in New York City than elsewhere in the country. Vaccines are only one part of the solution. Swiss-cheese model The pandemic was prevented by focusing on vaccines that are not mass expanded in measures such testing, tracking, isolation (TETRIS), and making public spaces, schools, and workplaces safer. Relying only on vaccines has been a poor strategy. Omicron’s example shows that it is not possible to end the pandemic.

Joe Biden Kamala Harris The Omicron variant spread quickly because no one could have predicted it. This claim is interesting considering that experts had presented the Biden administration with a plan for dealing with this situation just a few months back. Covid testing experts met with Biden to discuss the possibility of increasing production and making them available to the public to avoid a holiday surge. The failed proposal. “Testing Surge to Prevent Holiday COVID Surge”Biden administration promptly rejected it, stating that they did not have the capability to produce tests of this scale. Instead, the administration chose to focus on vaccination. Later, they announced a ridiculous plan whereby insurance companies would reimburse private insured patients who purchased a two-pack rapid tests for $35. This would leave people to fight with insurance companies that are known to do everything possible to reject claims and refuse to pay for healthcare.

The “individual responsibility” narrative of vax, mask, shut up, and work is beneficial for the ruling class as it exploits our labor and our deaths for profit. In addition to vaccination, there are other safety measures that could reduce risk of infection in a pandemic, such as providing people with housing, workers’ democratic organization of their own schedules and working conditions, and paying workers to stay home if exposed. The ruling class would not allow these options as it would impact their profit margin.

Moderna and BioNtech shares have increased to the tunes of 150,000 as people have died in the pandemic. billions of dollars. CEOs continue making million-dollar salaries while workers are still underpaid and often work in difficult situations. These conditions are so exploitative that many workers (including those in hospitality and retail) have to leave their jobs, or even quit their field altogether.

Many insurance companies had previously waived Covid-19 treatment-related expenses for patients during the pandemic. However, with the rollout of the vaccine, these companies now have the option. ended the practice. The waivers should not have been eliminated and all costs associated with Covid-related hospitalizations should be covered by the federal government indefinitely. These changes could leave patients — not only those who are unvaccinated, but those hospitalized with breakthrough infections, as well as children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine — with hospital bills totalling thousands of dollars. The CDC adapts to supply and demanded. just shortened the recommended Covid isolation period It takes between 10 and 5 days to get people back to work faster. The CDC’s function is to assess risk and make recommendations for public health. In doing so, however, it balances what costs are acceptable — both human and economic — and for what gains. As such, CDC has historically been malleable To meet the needs of capitalism.

A system that really prioritized treating illness and preventing it from happening would ensure that all workers are adequately paid and have access to safe working conditions. Workers would also be able to rest and recuperate in an environment that is well-structured. People would be able to get free healthcare, rather than having to file for bankruptcy or avoid getting it. The ruling class is clearly more interested in keeping the wheels of the capitalist system turning — at the expense of the health of the workers and patients — rather than ending the pandemic. The ruling class sees the pandemic as a commodity that can be monetized just like every other commodity.

The halls of power have mostly silenced discussions about the nature of the profit-driven, fragmented medical-industrial complex in America. One might think that perhaps, just maybe, the destabilization wrought by a global epidemic might spark a discussion about the ways in which a healthcare infrastructure built to prioritize monetary gain over human lives at all levels has contributed to and continues to hinder efforts to address it. But from street uprisings around the killing of Black people by police to conversations around health care system changes, the Biden administration has been able to take enormous political energy and funnel it into centrist electoral demands under the guise of being more “pragmatic.”

Is this any surprise? The Democratic Party has been the leader of the Democratic Party since its inception. graveyard of social movementsDefusing popular protests whenever possible. Biden rejected calls for the United States to be more like other countries and move towards a single-payer healthcare system. Today, if Biden wanted to, he could take unilateral steps towards releasing Moderna’s vaccine formulation to the WHO, but Biden’s appeal has always come from his representation as a pole of stability and safety for a vaguely defined “everybody,” when in fact, he governs in the interests of the ruling class just as reliably as Trump did.

The narrative of individual responsibility reduces the government’s ability to organize collective action and leaves people isolated, often at their employers’ whims. A byproduct of constantly hammering “individual responsibility” into our heads is that people learn that they cannot rely on government institutions and health systems to look out for them. Some people feel disillusioned and alienated by the for profit healthcare system and seek refuge in conspiracy theories.

Both parties of capital have an easy target in the anti-vaccination crowd. The Republicans have convinced them that they are more “free” by resisting vaccinations. The Democrats continue to blame the Democrats for the current situation of the pandemic. Instead of trying to convince anti-vaccine workers while allowing them work in a way that doesn’t put others at risk, the ruling classes strategy has been to use vaccine mandates in place of, rather than in addition, to these other methods of controlling and increasing vaccination rates.

The ruling class wants to direct public rage away from their exploitation and convince the working class and oppressed people to blame each other, creating a “war” of the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. This is necessary to avoid exposing the ways in which the ruling class has kept the machine of extraction and accumulation running during the pandemic at public health’s expense. They are trying to hide a healthcare system whose primary objective is to serve as a means of capital accumulation, extracting profit from people’s bodies as they become damaged by the capitalist system, not to maintain individual or public wellbeing. The ruling class would be very worried if workers realized that these systems are responsible in creating and exacerbating this pandemic.

Ending a global pandemic is not an “individual issue.” Yes, people should get vaccinated. They should wear masks. Yes, Covid-19 vaccines should also be available to anyone in the world who is able to be safely vaccinated. However, vaccines alone are not enough. Individual measures should be taken, but they must also be available. If we want people to trust vaccinations, we need a free healthcare system that clearly prioritizes people’s health. It’s fantastically dissonant to so vehemently tell people to take personal actions to protect themselves when it is clear that societal structures do not prioritize their health. Becoming sick from Covid just adds to the many other threats to one’s existence such as lack of housing, lack of food, and bankruptcy. So it’s no surprise that shaming people for not “doing their part” under these circumstances engenders resentment and tends to backfire.

We need basic public health services such as housing, food and debt cancellation. Paid medical leave is also needed. We need a society that places public health above private profit. We must destroy the capitalist system that is constantly expanding, which is destroying the planet and destroying the people who live there. putting us at risk for future pandemics. Bourgeois politicians, and governments dependent on capital, will not meet any of these needs.