Cases Spiking: Masks, Socially Responsible Physical Distancing, Mutual Aid Help
by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action LA, https://antiracist.org
As this issue was going to press, the US hit a record 200,000 news cases of COVID-19, only three weeks after hitting 100,000 new cases a day in early November. COVID is real and deadly serious. Hospitals are already being stretched to the limit in many places, and the promised vaccines are still months away for all but a few high priority recipients.
Yet the same forces that propelled Trump to the highest vote total ever achieved by a US presidential candidate (save that of his rival Biden) — anti-social individualism, racism, conspiracism, anti-intellectualism, religious fundamentalism — are fuelling an anti-mask, anti-vaccine, COVID-is-a-hoax “resistance” that has continued to grow since Trump urged his followers to “liberate” Michigan other states that imposed public health restrictions. Judges have overturned efforts at safety mandates in some states, including Michigan, and the US Supreme Court led by new Trump appointee Coney Barrett ruled that religious freedom under the First Amendment trumped public health concerns, in striking down NY state restrictions on mass public worship.
Such factors are bound to produce still more cases, and though COVID respects neither persons, governments nor borders, the pre-existing conditions of racism, colonialism, oppression and exploitation mean that the worst impacts will continue to be felt by Black, Raza, and indigenous people and by prisoners and low-wage “essential” workers.
Stay masked, keep your distance, avoid exposure as much as possible, get fresh air exercise, take Vitamin D, practice good hygiene, engage in mutual aid and solidarity, and stay informed. Accurate local COVID information is available here: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/ Los Angeles, like many other areas, is experiencing a spike, reflecting the deplorable conditions of a lack of affordable housing, lack of proper health and safety precautions and inspections in workplaces, and the lack of adequate health care for poor and working people. These continue to be systemic problems, magnified and intensified by white supremacy and racial oppression, that must be addressed if this enormous problem is to be overcome. A simple change in the occupant of the White House is far from enough, as evidenced by the failures of the Dems who runs the city and county of Los Angeles.
There has been a recent absurd tempest over the withdrawal of an article published by a student newsletter at Johns Hopkins University (by an economics major) that stated that COVID deaths had been offset by a decrease in deaths from heart disease or the flu, and there was no overall excess of deaths. There were immediate claims that the removal was a cover-up for political reasons. But in fact, almost every state in the US shows an increase on total weekly deaths for 2020 compared to 2019 of about 20% (except NY and NJ, where total deaths DOUBLED for many months in 2020). You can see the statistics, week by week and state by state, here: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Weekly-Counts-of-Deaths-by-State-and-Select-Causes/muzy-jte6/data The article was withdrawn because its statistical manipulations totally falsified the reality of over 300,000 “excess” deaths in the US. The view that “COVID is a hoax,” and that the deaths of Black, Brown and Native people don’t count and are their own fault is the 21st Century version of the post World War II ‘holocaust’ denialism, that “Hitler’s genocide of the Jews never happened and anyway they deserved it.” Only thoroughgoing anti-racist, anti-capitalist struggle will defeat COVID and the reality and mentality that feed it.
Michael Novick is a member of the Change Links production crew, editor/publisher of Tuening The Tide since 1988, and a retired teacher union rank and file activist.