We have been facing a 17% rise in COVID-19 cases since mid-July, and the U.S. government has decided to roll over and downplay the issue. There are still about 10,320 weekly COVID-19 new hospital admissions and between 200 and 400 weekly deaths across the country. Despite these hospitalizations and deaths, the White House proclaims that the virus “no longer meaningfully disrupts the way we live our lives.” The Biden administration is portraying the upsurge as an individual’s issue, especially among vulnerable populations. They say you should talk to your personal doctor (for those who can afford to have one) and we should not treat it as a public health concern.
It should not be normal for hundreds of people to be dying or risking getting long COVID each week while the government cuts down on its pandemic-response resources. In May, the White House declared the end of the COVID-19 federal Public Health Emergency. It eliminated its COVID-19 coordinator position and severely limited free COVID-19 tests and treatments, and data collection. Lack of access to free testing has added economic barriers and made it less likely that people get tested. Many states are no longer tracking COVID-19 cases. More people are unknowingly carrying and spreading the virus.
While case and death rates are not approaching the top crisis levels of the last four years, nor are they unexpected, COVID-19 continues to impact thousands of lives. Black, Latino, low-income, elderly and immune-compromised communities are especially at risk. And they are the least likely people to have a personal physician to talk to about their individual risk, as well as prevention and treatment options. What if there are few or no clinics in your neighborhood, you cannot take off work, or you live in a nursing home with inadequate resources?
The U.S. government apparently does not feel the need to supply resources that were pivotal to reducing COVID-19 cases in the first place, nor to relieve strained health systems. The administration wants to maintain health care as underfunded and understaffed at the expense of working and poor people’s lives.