The COVID-19 variants (Beta, Delta, etc.) are a direct consequence of the dysfunctional capitalist response to this global pandemic. The Delta variant was first detected in India. Because of the large number of unvaccinated people in India, the virus quickly produced new mutations. This is because the more a virus replicates and spreads, the more opportunities it has to produce new mutations. By letting the virus continue spreading due to the inadequate vaccination and testing, a new mutation called the Delta variant was produced, which is even more infectious.
The reaction to the pandemic has been the typical capitalist one – seizing an opportunity for capitalists to get even richer. The pharmaceutical giants received vaccine development grants so they could exclusively profit from the crisis. The three corporations that own the vaccines (produced by their employees, of course) – Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson&Johnson – are protected by “intellectual property” law and thus have exclusive access to a rainfall of profits as vaccines are in desperate demand worldwide. It is this protection of a few Big Pharma companies that has given rise to needless scarcity of vaccines in many areas, and a rampant growth of COVID-19 variants as a result.
Instead, if there were a global plan designed by qualified scientists, including coordinated mass vaccination, testing, contact tracing, and strategically-targeted shutdowns, we could’ve wiped out COVID-19 long ago. The painful shutdowns of businesses and schools would have been much shorter, and in many places even unnecessary. In this capitalist reality, mass vaccination was afforded primarily for citizens in wealthy countries like the United States, and even there the effort was botched in many ways. This kind of selective vaccination cannot stop the spread of a global pandemic. As a result, shutdowns were long and painful, causing massive destruction of small businesses, the loss of so many lives, and a drawn-out pandemic with new variants.
And so the nightmare of COVID-19 continues, all thanks to the pathetic response of the capitalist governments all over the world, which exist only to protect the corporations. This long pandemic illustrates once again the complete dysfunction of a system based on profit instead of human need.