Covid, Flu and RSV Highlight a System That Won’t Protect Us

Despite the fact that Covid remains the third leading cause of death, killing about 400 people in the U.S. a day, the vast majority of whom are over the age of 65, the Federal Government has ended the Covid emergency declaration which provided funds for vaccination, treatment, and testing. At the same time, the triple threat this winter of Covid, influenza, and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), especially among children, continues to overwhelm emergency departments and hospitals, especially pediatric units, and has led to severe shortages of essential children’s medications. 

While doctors have repeatedly called on the Biden administration to declare a national health emergency around RSV, which would provide additional funding and support to overfull hospitals, and increase the production of important medicines for children that are in short supply, their requests have been denied. Perhaps before Covid, it would have been easier to declare an emergency for a virus infecting so many children. But due to the politicization of public health since the pandemic, the institution has lost some credibility, and is now less willing to intervene, less willing to take emergency measures, and even more hesitant to implement national preventative policies. Any public health response will likely be even worse during the next health emergency or pandemic.

Additionally, an estimated 4 million people are out of work due to long Covid. The CDC estimates 1 in 5 people infected with Covid develop Long Covid, which is around 16 million working-age people. Long Covid is an extremely debilitating illness, which includes chronic brain fog, extreme fatigue, and lingering respiratory problems. Those with Long Covid can even have difficulty walking for more than five minutes, among other ailments.  

The Covid pandemic continues to cause disruptive shocks to the current system each time there is a surge of a new variant. With no plan, we can expect this pattern to continue for the indefinite future. It’s clear that the ruling class and the state have decided that both the current numbers of deaths, primarily in the elderly population, along with the ongoing mass disabling event that is Long Covid, are perfectly compatible with the needs of their system.