Why Does America Still Have the Highest Death Rate from COVID?

by | Feb 3, 2022 | Politics & Corruption, Human Rights & Justice, Wealth Gap

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation

Why Does America Still Have the Highest Death Rate from COVID?

by | Feb 3, 2022 | Politics & Corruption, Human Rights & Justice, Wealth Gap

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation
On average, COVID is killing an estimated 2,600 people every day in the U.S., a staggering figure that experts fear is becoming “normalized” among the country’s political establishment and population.

Republished with permission from Common Dreams, by Jake Johnson

A new data analysis out February 2nd demonstrates that Covid-19 is now killing people at a significantly higher rate in the United States than in other rich countries, a grim reality that analysts have attributed to the nation’s lagging vaccination campaign and—more broadly—its fragmented for-profit healthcare system.

Citing figures from Johns Hopkins University, the World Bank, and the U.S. government, the New York Times reports that the country’s deaths during the ongoing Omicron wave “have now surpassed the worst days of the autumn surge of the Delta variant, and are more than two-thirds as high as the record tolls of last winter, when vaccines were largely unavailable.”

“Despite having one of the world’s most powerful arsenals of vaccines, the country has failed to vaccinate as many people as other large, wealthy nations. Crucially, vaccination rates in older people also lag behind certain European nations,” the Times noted. “The United States has fallen even further behind in administering booster shots, leaving large numbers of vulnerable people with fading protection as Omicron sweeps across the country.”

In addition to highlighting the role of rampant right-wing disinformation in vaccine hesitancy among many Americans, experts and commentators have pointed to structural barriers such as poverty, lack of paid sick leave, and massive levels of uninsurance as key factors hindering the U.S. pandemic response and driving up the coronavirus death toll. Research by the Kaiser Family Foundation has shown that unvaccinated Americans are more likely to be uninsured than vaccinated adults.

“Many more Americans would be vaccinated if our healthcare system wasn’t so terrifying,” healthcare journalist Natalie Shure argued in a column for The New Republic last year. “Though Congress passed legislation mandating that Covid-19 vaccines be free at the point of use for all U.S. residents, around one-third of unvaccinated people cited fear of cost as a significant reason they’ve yet to get the jab.”

“As it happens,” Shure noted, “patients across the country have been slapped with coronavirus-related medical bills throughout the pandemic, sometimes getting hit with steep charges for testing and treatment in spite of Congress’ mandates… Even if such events are rare, the startlingly widespread concern about it poses an undeniable threat to public health—and is just the latest illustration of the havoc wrought by a healthcare system that millions of people are too terrified to use.”

According to a study released in December by West Health and Gallup, 30% of U.S. adults reported skipping treatment for a health problem in the prior three months and nearly 60% said the pandemic heightened their concerns about healthcare costs.

“One in every 20 U.S. adults—an estimated 12.7 million people—report knowing a friend or family member who died this past year after not receiving treatment because they could not afford it,” the study found.

While the Times analysis doesn’t emphasize the potentially massive impact the for-profit U.S. healthcare system has had on the country’s vaccination effort and coronavirus death rate, the newspaper does point to economic factors, highlighting survey data which indicates that “the poorest Americans are the likeliest to remain unvaccinated, putting them at greater risk of dying from Covid.”

“You know what every country on this graph except for the USA has?” asked political anthropologist and physician Eric Reinhart in response to the Times analysis. “Universal healthcare guaranteed to every resident.”

“Almost seems like that might matter for public health and the trust in medicine, science, and government upon which public health depends,” Reinhart added.

Daniel Farber, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, added that the Times‘ data compilation spotlights “the dark side of American exceptionalism.”

On average, the coronavirus is killing an estimated 2,600 people every day in the U.S., a staggering figure that experts fear is becoming “normalized” among the country’s political establishment and population.

“If we want to declare the end of the pandemic right now, what we’re doing is normalizing a very high rate of death,” Anne Sosin, a health equity researcher at Dartmouth College, told the Times.

Progressives have argued throughout the pandemic that the privatized U.S. healthcare system—with its sky-high costs and countless barriers to treatment—left the country dangerously unprepared to combat the threat of Covid-19.

The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen estimated in a report last March that hundreds of thousands of coronavirus deaths likely would have been prevented if the U.S. had a single-payer, Medicare for All system.

“Under Medicare for All, everyone would have consistent coverage regardless of their employment status or employer,” the report argued. “And because Americans would have their choice of providers, instead of facing the narrow networks their employers choose for them, they would face fewer challenges getting care, especially during a pandemic where some hospitals and providers are overwhelmed by demand.”

<a href="http://commondreams.org" target="_blank">Common Dreams</a>

Common Dreams

Common Dreams has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 1997. They are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us

Related Articles

Nov 26 2022

Early Voting Starts Today in Georgia Despite Republican Efforts to Block It

The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled against the Republican Party attempts to block local election officials from conducting advanced voting the Saturday after...
Nov 24 2022

Huh? Herschel Walker’s Primary Residence Is in Texas?

The question of the day, “How can Herschel Walker represent Georgians when he doesn’t claim Georgia as his primary residence?”
Nov 23 2022

The Supreme Court Denies Trump’s Final Bid to Hide Tax Returns From House Committee

The ridiculous and repeated delaying tactics by Trump to hide his tax returns from Congress are finally over.
Nov 20 2022

Profits Over People: The Danger of Private Equity’s Stealthy Takeover of Health Care

Private equity is rapidly moving to reshape health care in America, coming off a banner year in 2021, when the deep-pocketed firms plowed $206 billion into more than...
Nov 20 2022

Why Conservative Parents Are Trying to Take Over School Boards

Hundreds of parents hoping to “take back” public education ran for school board seats in the midterms. What’s the actual job that awaits those who win?
Nov 18 2022

First Amendment: Censorship Law Backed by DeSantis Struck Down by Federal Judge

A Federal judge ruled, “…the First Amendment does not permit the State of Florida to muzzle its university professors, impose its own orthodoxy of...
Nov 17 2022

How Banks and Private Equity Are Cashing In on Patients Who Can’t Pay Their Medical Bills

As Americans are overwhelmed with medical bills, patient financing is now a multibillion-dollar business—with profit margins topping 29 percent in the patient financing...
Nov 16 2022

Some “Do’s and Don’ts” of How the News Media Should Responsibly Cover Trump’s New Circus

When it comes to Trump, journalists—if they are to serve the public interest—must realize they are reporting on a politician who regularly defies democratic norms and...
Nov 12 2022

Georgia Senate Candidates Back on the Campaign Trail as Trump Factor Could Again Aid Warnock

Trump has been blamed for helping Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff win in 2021 when he spent the time before the January runoff telling Georgians the state’s election system...
Nov 11 2022

The Lost and Nearly Forgotten Story of the Bonus Army March

The Bonus Army March was one of the few times in American history when the U.S. military was used to shut down a massive demonstration of peaceful protesters.
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This