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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

All Health Is Public Health

For decades, we have been sold a myth of private health. It is a myth that our health is largely a product of individual choices and personal responsibilities. It is a myth that our healthcare is a service which private corporations can provide, and for which we must pay to survive.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has blown up this myth. Our personal health cannot be separated from the health of our neighbors or our planet. Nor can it be separated from the structural factors and policy decisions that have determined our health outcomes long before we are born.

Continue reading

Iowa Is What Happens When Government Does Nothing

Iowa City, IA — Nick Klein knew the man wasn’t going to make it through the night. So the 31-year-old nurse at the University of Iowa ICU put on his gown, his gloves, his mask, and his face shield. He went into the patient’s room, held a phone to his ear, and tried hard not to cry while he listened to the man’s loved ones take turns saying goodbye. When they were finished, Klein put on some music, a muted melody like you might hear in an elevator. He pulled up a chair and took the man’s hand. For two hours that summer night, there were no sounds but soft piano and the gentle beep beep beep of the monitors.

Continue reading

To Solve The COVID19 Crisis, Biden Must Put People Over Profits

As infectious disease experts had warned over the summer, the fall brought another rise in COVID-19 cases in the United States. It is a third surge in what is still the first wave as the number of daily new cases only flattened slightly in the spring before rising again in June. As of the writing of this article, the number of daily new cases is averaging 177,000 and close to 2,000 people are dying each day.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reached a crisis level in multiple states. In El Paso, Texas, hospitals have run out of beds even though the city’s convention center was converted into a hospital, and some patients are being transported nearly 600 miles away to Austin.

Continue reading

States With Few Coronavirus Restrictions Are Spreading The Virus

For months after Washington state imposed one of the earliest and strictest COVID-19 lockdowns in March, Jim Gilliard didn’t stray far from his modular home near Waitts Lake, 45 miles north of Spokane.

The retiree was at high risk from the coronavirus, both because of his age, 70, and his medical condition. Several years ago, he had a defibrillator implanted. So he mainly ventured out during the pandemic to shop for food.

There wasn’t much else to do anyway. Gatherings in his county were limited to no more than 10 people, there was a mask mandate, movie theaters were closed and many nightclubs and concert venues were shuttered because of a state ban on all live entertainment, indoors and out.

Continue reading

Public Health Council Unanimously Passes Motion Opposing Biomass Plant

The Public Health Council of Springfield on Saturday, November 21, sent a letter to the chairs of the House-Senate Climate Change Conference requesting that there be no incentives written into the legislation under consideration promoting the building of biomass as a source of electricity. According to the letter signed by the Public Health Council Environmental Health Chair Dr. Jeffrey Scavron, “The Public Health Council urges you to do all you can to not allow the construction of a Biomass Furnace in our city.

Continue reading