Relaxing COVID-19 guidelines puts capitalism over health

Adrienne Lawrence
Liberal Opinion

Adrienne Lawrence

Legal commentator
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently introduced new COVID-19 guidelines, relaxing quarantining and social distance precautions. Subsequently, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced a revamp of the agency due to missteps in its handling of COVID-19. Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence questions whether the new guidelines are putting the economy and corporate America ahead of public health:

There have been more than 1 million COVID-related deaths since this pandemic popped off. As of last week, there are at least 103,000 reported cases nationwide—including First Lady Jill Biden. Why are we rolling back precautions? Just because those in power want to act like the Novel coronavirus is just an aggressive flu doesn’t make it so—particularly when less than 70 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and the plan for boosters is largely unknown.

With the CDC relaxing guidelines, it’s clear that our government’s goal is to get the United States back in business even if that means infected people are free to infect others, some of whom may die. This type of reckless approach—that maximizes capitalistic gains and minimizes public health— fuels the reemergence of dead diseases among the masses.

Just look at what we’ve already seen on Skid Row, the area of Los Angeles where thousands of unhoused transient people are forced to live in contaminated squalor, and are neglected by our leadership. In 2019, just a year before the pandemic, typhoid fever and typhus emerged in Skid Row. And we know that because LAPD officers working in that area were infected. Fortunately, they were able to access health care to get the help and knowledge they needed, hopefully stopping the spread of the diseases.

But what about the people living on those streets? What about the parent who works multiple jobs trying to make ends meet? What about individuals who don’t have the wherewithal to navigate the misinformation and disinformation campaigns? Our society needs to invest in them—all of them, all Americans—rather than simply investing in that which directly generates wealth for corporate America.

Capitalism may be king but COVID-19 brought the king to his knees. We must learn from this pandemic by investing in the health of our people.

The day after the Center for Disease Control announced relaxed COVID-19 guidelines, polio was detected in New York City wastewater. Our nation has no business being chill about COVID-19 or any other communicable virus when it can’t even keep it’s eradicated viruses in check. We need to elevate the health of our people over the drive for capitalism. Let’s be real here: Polio should have stayed dead. We’ve had an effective vaccine since 1952, with mass vaccination underway across the US by 55, and global efforts to eradicate the virus by the late 80s. The disease was deemed dead. That is, before it showed up in the big apple a few weeks back. In late-July, a man living in Rockland County New York, just north of the city, was left paralyzed due to polio. Now they find it in the city’s drinking water. Many people, including myself were vaccinated from polio as children. But in the wake of it’s presumed extinction and likely  the anti-vaxx movement, parents aren’t vaccinating children as consistently as they did in the past. This per the New York Times: “In New York City, the overall rate of polio vaccination among children 5 and under is 86 percent, and most adults in the United States were vaccinated against polio as children. Still, in some city ZIP codes, fewer than two-thirds of children 5 and under have received at least three doses, a figure that worries health officials.” This is scary… and it’s a reflection of societal failings. We’re not educating people, investing in ensuring they understand that the vaccines are safe and effective. Nor are we ensuring that they’re readily accessible regardless of income or geography, or even just providing them with universal health care.  No, our nation elevates capitalism over care. We don’t encourage our society to put their health first. We’re seeing this reality play out right now with the CDC loosening COVID-19 restrictions, freeing businesses from the onus of requiring the infected isolate or work from home. We’re still very much in a pandemic. There have been more than one million Covid related deaths since this pandemic popped off. As of last week, there are at least one hundred and three thousand reported cases nationwide—including First Lady Jill Biden. Why are we rolling back precautions? Just because those in power want to act like the Novel coronavirus is just an aggressive flu doesn’t make it so—particularly when less than 70 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated and the plan for boosters is largely unknown. With the CDC relaxing guidelines, it’s clear that our government’s goal is to get the United States back in business even if that means infected people are free to infect others, some of whom may die. This type of reckless approach—that maximizes capitalistic gains and minimizes public health— fuels the reemergence of dead diseases among the masses. Just look at what we’ve already seen on Skid Row, the area of Los Angeles where thousands of unhoused transient people are forced to live in contaminated squalor and are neglected by our leadership. In 2019, just a year before the pandemic, Typhoid fever and typhus emerged in Skid Row. And we know that because LAPD officers working in that area were infected. Fortunately, they were able to access health care to get the help and knowledge they needed, hopefully stopping the spread of the diseases. But what about the people living on those streets? What about the parent who works multiple jobs trying to make ends meet? What about individuals who don’t have the wherewithal to navigate the misinformation and disinformation campaigns? Our society needs to invest in them—all of them, all Americans—rather than simply investing in that which directly generates wealth for corporate America. ………. Capitalism may be king but COVID-19 brought the king to his knees. We must learn from this pandemic by investing in the health of our people.


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