COVID-19 pandemic, its emergence, global spread and the crisis therefrom are inseparably linked up with the character of neoliberal accumulation today. As is widely recognised, its origins are rooted in profit-driven corporate capital’s unbridled plunder of nature and consequent invasion and intrusion in to wild life ecosystem leading to spill-over of viruses to humans and their subsequent mutations.
That is, most of the zoonotic viruses and consequent highly infectious diseases coming up one by one during the neoliberal period are rooted in increasing disruptions in ecosystem and biodiversity. The entire health care system under capitalist-imperialist system being driven by profit motive, this pandemic has given rise not only to a health crisis but also to an unprecedented economic collapse given the globalised character of world today.
Many concerned and well-meaning scholars, political scientists and economists the world over envisage the outcome of COVID-19 pandemic as more deadly and destructive than that of all previous crises including even world wars. In particular, while the world is celebrating the 75th year of the end of Second World War, COVID-19, with both US and UK under its highest death tolls, has exposed the political-economic and social bankruptcy of the Anglo-American led capitalist-imperialist system of more than two centuries. Many observations and hypotheses on this aspect based on the emerging trends are pouring in from various quarters.
Prospect editors look beyond the horizon at what the aftermath of the crisis will yield. It’s clear that we’re facing a Depression-level event economically and a public-health crisis with no easing in sight, even as the current administration has decided to give up on containment and safeguarding the general welfare. Our senior editors, meanwhile, tried to look beyond the horizon at what the aftermath of the crisis will yield. And it’s a very uncertain picture. Paul Starr lays out the multiple options: a rebirth of egalitarian spirit, or an accelerant of ugly nationalism and entrenchment. Harold Meyerson sees labor either battered by mass unemployment and impossible legal barriers or uplifted by radical collective action and newfound “essential” status. Bob Kuttner forecasts either the rise of China as an economic hegemon, or a renewed domestic manufacturing sector and a green stimulus powering America back to a sustainable prosperity. And I look at concentrated corporate power, which will either become unbearably dominant after the crisis, or be felled by all the shortcomings the crisis has exposed.
Americans are paying dearly as they suffer through the coronavirus epidemic. The costs of inadequate testing, poor medical care and even death in isolation are only compounded by the nation’s staggering economy, mounting unemployment rate and uncertainty of recovery. Making matters worse, there has been an increase in domestic violence. Domestic abuse – or intimate partner violence – is an endemic feature of American social life, one example of the all-pervasive sexual or gender violence. A recent report on “domestic violence” from the National Center for Biotechnology Information paints a grim picture: Family and domestic violence (including child abuse, intimate partner abuse, and elder abuse) is a common problem in the United States. Family and domestic health violence are estimated to affect 10 million people in the United States every year. It is a national public health problem … Under conditions of the Corvid-19 plague, the number of incidents of domestic violence appears on the uptick.
The survey, conducted April 17 to April 19, found that a full 60 percent of the public opposes the largely pro-Trump protesters whose calls for governors to “liberate” their states by lifting lockdown measures have attracted intense media attention in recent days — and whose message the president amplified Friday in a series of all-caps “LIBERATE” tweets about three swing states: Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia. Only 22 percent of Americans say they support the protesters. Despite Trump’s messaging, even Republicans oppose the protests 47 percent to 36 percent. Asked whether they agree or disagree with Trump’s “LIBERATE” tweets, only a quarter of Americans say they agree.
Covid-19 is on pace to be the largest single killer of Americans this week, given the normal number of deaths in an April week.
2020-04-15 Indictment of Trump and a Warning: 90% of US Coronavirus Deaths Could Have Been Prevented With Swifter Action
Eight Republican governors still have not issued statewide stay-at-home orders as deaths in the U.S. top 26,000. New research published Wednesday revealed that the vast majority, as much as 90%, of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus outbreak could have been avoided if strict social distancing measures were imposed just two weeks earlier—the latest damning rebuke of President Donald Trump's mismanagement of the crisis and a warning to those still skeptical of the restrictions.
2020-04-15 'Appalling Betrayal of Global Solidarity': Trump Condemned for Halting US Funding to World Health Organization
Amid Pandemic "President Trump's decision to defund WHO is simply this—a crime against humanity."
2020-04-15 Trump's OSHA Rebuked for 'Sitting on Its Ass' as Covid-19 Infections and Deaths Surge Among Frontline Workers
"More than 9,000 U.S. healthcare workers have been infected with Covid-19 and 27 have died. The biggest workplace catastrophe ever to hit the nation's healthcare workers.
African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to die because we bear the pre-existing condition known as race.
China eradicated the virus from Hubei province by deploying 40,000 medical staff to the province and doing comprehensive contact tracing and testing, and this is the model other wealthy countries that have had limited success against COVID-19 have tried to follow. In Wuhan, tests were coming back in four to seven hours, providing the basis for efficient and effective isolation and contact tracing of each case. Germany has done better than other large countries in Europe, with more than 118,000 cases but only 2,607 deaths as of April 9, and is now treating patients airlifted from France, Italy and Spain. Other countries that tested at least 0.5 percent of their populations before getting overwhelmed have kept deaths even lower (deaths as of April 9): Australia (51); Austria (295); Bahrain (5); Canada (503); Estonia (24); Iceland (6); Latvia (3); Malta (2); Norway (108); Singapore (6); Slovenia (43); South Korea (204); Switzerland (948) and the UAE (14). Vietnam, Taiwan, Cuba, Venezuela have all been relatively successful in limiting the spread of the COVID-19 in different ways, but because they reacted promptly. After a very late start, US medical labs were quickly overwhelmed with COVID-19 testing. By April 1, results were taking up to 10 days to come back from labs, and Quest Diagnostics had a backlog of 160,000 unprocessed tests. This is forcing doctors and hospitals to treat every patient with symptoms as if they have the virus, putting even greater demands on medical staff and equipment. The US’s deficient lab testing makes it impossible to set up a system of isolation and contact tracing that can identify asymptomatic carriers and stop the spread of the virus. The United States is also failing miserably to provide any model of how to successfully combat COVID-19. The US already has more coronavirus deaths than China, a country with four times the US population, and the future for Americans is terrifying, with the Trump administration talking about the death of 100,000 Americans as a “good scenario.” The terribly botched US response to the pandemic is undermining already weak global confidence in US leadership.
“This coronavirus pandemic could have been prevented; the information was there to prevent it. In fact, it was well-known. In October 2019, just before the outbreak, there was a large-scale simulation in the United States – possible pandemic of this kind,” he said, referring to an exercise – titled Event 201 – hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Nothing was done. The crisis was then made worse by the treachery of the political systems that didn’t pay attention to the information that they were aware of. “On December 31, China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of pneumonia-like symptoms with unknown origins. A week later, some Chinese scientists identified a coronavirus. Furthermore, they sequenced it and provided information to the world. By then, virologists and others who were bothering to read WHO reports knew that there was a coronavirus and knew that had to deal with it. Did they do anything? Well yes, some did. “China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore began to do something, and they have sort of pretty much seemed to have contained at least the first surge of the crisis.”
As confirmed cases of COVID-19 surge in other cities in the US, the Bay Area is experiencing an incredibly low rate of new cases by comparison. For example, as of March 30th, New York City has 33,768 confirmed COVID-19 cases while San Francisco has 340 confirmed cases.
We followed up with our UCSF Emergency Room contact; Dr. Nathan Teismann, to ask about current and new COVID-19 cases in his ER, as well as the state of his fellow staff at the hospital, and his colleagues in the greater Bay Area. Dr. Teismann assured us that his ER was still relativity quiet over the weekend, seeing approximately half of the patients it usually sees on a normal weekend. (these figures are consistent with those BAS reported 3.25.20)
Dr Teismann: “Over the weekend, we typically see around 200 patients per day in the ER, and this weekend we saw less than half of that volume, approximately 80-90 people we’re seen on Saturday, about half of those patients came in because of symptoms suspected of being COVID-19.”
When asked about the state of other hospitals in the Bay Area the Doctor replied, “My colleagues at Stanford, as well as at other facilities in San Francisco report much of the same conditions in their hospitals. For now, the rate of new confirmed, infections showing up in Emergency rooms is not unmanageable.”
I asked the doctor if he believed that our early ‘shelter in place policy’ was having an effect, Dr. Teismann replied, “It seems very likely, that the ‘shelter in place’ policy has had a significant, positive effect on containing the spread of COVID-19 in the Bay Area.”
He followed with, “We are obviously not capturing the true prevalence of infected people in the Bay Area, because so many who may have been infected are staying home and therefore will not ever be ‘confirmed’ cases of COVID-19.”
Most of the confirmed cases across the world are confirmed because the patients had severe symptoms, that is why they went to the the hospital in the first place. Since roughly 80% of people with COVID-19 have very mild symptoms, they end up staying home and letting the virus run its course, without adding to the statistics.
The true rate of infections throughout the Bay Area is obviously much higher than can be tested, but severe cases are still low, and as of yet, not growing exponentially like they are in New Orleans or New York.
Sheltering in place, seems to be bending the curve of infections in a major way. Nationally of course, we are not fairing as well. Dr. Teismann was quick to warn me that the ‘top of the curve’ is yet to come. He sent me the projected peak of coronavirus patients from the IHME at the University of Washington, which projects that nationally, April 15th will be the beginning of the peak of hospital bed capacity for COVID-19 patients in the USA.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, see all of there projections by visiting their site.
What does that mean for you? It means that social distancing and staying home is the right thing to do. By staying home, and restricting your contact with others, also known as ‘social distancing’, is having an incredibly positive effect on ‘flattening the curve’. By preventing the spread of COVID-19 you are quite literally saving lives in your community, and although we are far from the end of this pandemic, take heart that the sacrifices you are making by staying home and not becoming infected, are helping our medical professionals deal with this outbreak immensely.
The good news for San Franciscans Businesses in SF started limiting service in the second week of March, and the official order to shutter all non-essential businesses in 6 Bay Area counties, and for citizens to shelter in place was given on March 16th, but by then the majority of workers and businesses had already stopped operations.
As of today, March 30th, it has been over 14 days since large crowds stopped congregating and the circulation of the virus has been greatly impeded. Since most cases of COVID-19 last around 14 days, if we were going to see a massive surge of infections, the odds are we would have seen them by now in our Emergency rooms.
For now, this is good news, we have been incredibly fortunate that our government and business owners acted quickly and decisively to help slow the spread of the virus.
A message from your local healthcare providers Dr Teismann wanted to add that at USCF there has seen an incredible outpouring of kindness, well wishes and donations from the local community. Everything from free meals from local restaurants delivered to the hospital staff, to artwork made by local elementary school students and hung in the hospital break room. There have been phone calls and well-wishes from patients and neighbors to the hospital, and that positive outpouring has had a wonderful and positive effect on healthcare workers.
Stay safe, stay home San Francisco. And if you would like to thank our medical professionals think about joining the sunset applause tonight, and every night, at 7pm. Cheer and applaud from your window or balcony to thank those shouldering the burden during this pandemic!
We will keep publishing updates, and remember, we still have a long way to go.
- If you think you have been exposed to COVID‑19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.