Experts Warn Poor COVID Messaging May Give Public Wrong Sense of Current Risks

Public health experts on Sunday warned that the U.S. public may not be getting a full, accurate picture of their risk of contracting the coronavirus — and their need to take precautions like masking in public indoor spaces — as a number of high-profile Covid-19 cases were reported on Capitol Hill several weeks after mitigation efforts were largely dropped in cities across the country. At least 67 people who attended the annual Gridiron Club dinner last weekend — more than 10% of the guests — have now tested positive for Covid-19, including Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack, Attorney General Merrick Garland,…

Defeating Vaccine Apartheid Will Require Unions That Fight Global Inequality

This piece was originally published at Labor Notes. My grandmother, Ila Bose, passed away in October after several days in the hospital. The exact trajectory leading to her death is not known — she had pneumonia towards the end — but my mother (also a physician) suspects she may have had lingering effects from a previous Covid case. As horrible as it is to say this, our family were the lucky ones. My grandmother was well-off compared with most people in India, and while she faced adversities throughout her life, access to medical care was not among them. She even…

Gorsuch Goes Maskless at Supreme Court, Increasing Colleagues’ COVID Risk Levels

Since last Friday afternoon, Justice Neil Gorsuch has refused to wear a mask during in-person hearings at the Supreme Court, a decision that could impact the health of his fellow justices — especially given that the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus continues to push COVID hospitalization rates into record high levels. NBC News has reported that on Tuesday Gorsuch appeared without a mask on. All other justices in attendance were wearing masks, while two justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, attended via remote video communication. All nine justices are vaccinated, including with boosters, for protection against coronavirus. The…

Capitalism Is Preventing Bold Steps to Curb COVID as Cases Skyrocket

The conversation on shutting down massive swaths of the economy and daily life, in order to corral the dual COVID-19 variant explosions of Delta and Omicron, has become brittle. President Biden has stated repeatedly that the U.S. is not “in the shutdown business,” a sentiment echoed by many of his political allies as well as members of the business community. Their hesitancy, while not as scientifically responsible as it should be, definitely has its reasons. Along with causing significant financial losses, the upheaval among the parents of young children was extremely punishing when schools closed and a haphazard form of…

We Are Not Returning to “Normal.” 2022 Must Be a Year of Change.

President Joe Biden cast his successful election as a signal of a return to some semblance of normalcy after the chaos that defined the reign of Donald Trump, as if “normal” could describe a world obsessed with profit and facing a pandemic and climate crisis. Instead, 2021 was a year of uncertainty and right-wing backlash to any small amount of progress made by the social movements that saw a burst of momentum in 2020. It began with the January 6 mob attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters attempting to overthrow Biden’s election, a clear sign that “normal” was not…

Top Shareholders of Pfizer and Moderna Made Over $10 Billion After Omicron Arose

In the first week that the Omicron variant sparked global fears of a new wave of infections, a small handful of investors and executives with Pfizer and Moderna — currently the world’s preeminent makers of Covid-19 vaccines — saw over $10 billion in new wealth, with the Moderna’s CEO alone adding over $800 million to his personal fortune. Based on data compiled by Global Justice Now and released Saturday, “just 8 top Pfizer and Moderna shareholders” added a combined $10.31 billion to their fortunes last week after stock prices soared in response to the emergence of Omicron. According to a…

Instead of Travel Bans, Let’s Defeat Omicron Variant With Global Vaccination

There is global concern and widespread alarm at the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has called Omicron. The WHO classified Omicron as a “variant of concern” because it has a wide range of mutations. This suggests vaccines and treatments could be less effective. Although early days, Omicron appears to be able to reinfect people more easily than other strains. Australia has followed other countries and regions — including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the European Union — and banned travellers from nine southern African countries. Australians seeking to return home from southern…

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