Coronavirus crisis update

This 8 April 2020 video says about itself:

“People Are Dying in the Streets”: Ecuador Struggles to Cope with COVID-19 as Cases Skyrocket

The coronavirus pandemic is exhausting Ecuador’s medical resources, with at least 220 dead and more than 4,000 cases. Ecuador is among the top three countries with the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the entire Latin American region. In recent days, images of dead bodies wrapped in plastic tarp left on the streets of the city of Guayaquil as families desperately try to bury loved ones have shocked the entire country and the world. Guayaquil is Ecuador’s most populous city and the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. We speak with Denisse Herrera, the Ecuador correspondent for teleSUR.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 8 April 2020:

Our health is not negotiable, which is why we’ve had to walk

Seven security guards at a prestigious London university explain why — with the support of the UVW union — they have decided to self-isolate instead of clock on

OUR health and the health of the public was being put at risk by our employer, Bidvest Noonan.

As a result, we’ve been left with no choice but to walk off the job. As an outsourcing giant recording huge yearly profits, Noonan’s wealth is built upon the backs of thousands of workers like us — all of whom it exploits, by employing them on the worst terms and conditions legally possible.

Of course, it does this, like all outsourcing companies, on behalf of clients who wish to keep their hands clean and project an image of being a socially conscious employer — all while in reality being just as culpable as Noonan for our atrocious treatment; after all, they are the ones who draw up the contracts.

Britain: Concerns for Assange‘s health following Covid-19 death in Belmarsh: here.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain, 8 April 2020:

Hospital staff treating coronavirus patients with PPE that’s 19 years out of date

HOSPITAL staff have reportedly been issued with protective equipment which is almost 20 years old.

Staff at Barnsley Hospital in Yorkshire say that the age of some equipment has been hidden by a sticker put over the date of manufacture, with one batch of face masks dated 2001.

General union GMB said that the desperate attempt at disguise exposes the failure of the government to provide health workers with the personal protective equipment (PPE) they desperately need to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain, 8 April 2020:

Watchdog hits out at government’s Covid-19 safety failings

Hazard Group says millions of lives have been put at risk by inadequacies of government

MILLIONS of lives have been needlessly put at risk by the government’s inadequate response to the coronavirus pandemic, health and safety campaigners warned today.

The analysis comes as authorities reported a further 936 deaths from Covid-19, the country’s highest total so far and bringing the total to 7,172.

Analysis by the Hazards Campaign group has exposed a catalogue of government shortfalls, including its refusal to stop all non-essential work, inability to supply health service staff with protective equipment and failure to introduce a comprehensive testing and tracking system to contain the virus.

Britain: Government’s promise to protect vulnerable rings hollow after it asks care homes to take in coronavirus patients: here.

Scotland must increase testing or risk ‘catastrophe’, think tanks warns.

Top EU scientist quits over inadequate response to the coronavirus: here.

The European Union still refuses to confront the coronavirus crisis: here.

US failures have caused delayed response to Covid-19 outbreak, research reveals: here.

1 thought on “Coronavirus crisis update

  1. Drug prices are too high. And with a pandemic raging across America, here’s a perfect illustration of how:

    We already paid for COVID-19 treatments—we cannot let Big Pharma make us pay again.

    While there’s much we don’t yet know about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, there’s one thing we know for sure: U.S. taxpayers have already paid for the research and testing of the most promising treatments.

    Taxpayers have spent nearly $700 million on coronavirus research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).1 And big pharma corporations spend more money enriching themselves through stock buybacks than they do on research and development.2

    During his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump loved to talk tough on pharma and say he would fight for lower drug prices. But then he put Alex Azar, a Big Pharma executive infamous for doubling the price of insulin, in charge of regulating health care. Several weeks ago, Azar refused to guarantee that a coronavirus vaccine will be affordable for all, citing the need to protect big pharma’s profits.3

    SIGN NOW: Big Pharma must stop price gouging Americans for taxpayer funded drugs!

    One medication currently being tested on coronavirus patients is the antiviral remdesivir. It’s still too early to say if remdesivir will prove broadly effective at helping patients with COVID-19. But if it does end up being a major part of treating the disease, it’s essential to remember who paid for the drug’s development: The American people.

    Remdesivir was developed with research funded by a $37.5 million NIH grant.4 The NIH plans to spend at least an additional $30 million on phase II trials of the medication this year. Since we’ve all paid for remdesivir’s development through our taxpayer dollars, it should be available to everyone who needs it at no cost.

    Instead, the Trump administration granted Gilead, a giant pharmaceutical corporation, “orphan” drug status for remdesivir―a status intended to encourage research and development for rare disease treatments. This status for a pandemic treatment would give Gilead the freedom to charge outrageous prices for the drug, with their government-granted exclusivity ensuring that there will be no competition for years to come.

    Fortunately, public outcry led Gilead to renounce the benefits of orphan designation, but still retains other patents that give them a five-year monopoly on remdesivir.

    This dance goes on over and over again, with drugs of all levels of prominence. We can’t lower drug prices without breaking the iron grip that Big Pharma has on politicians from both parties.

    Taxpayers always fund the riskiest and most crucial research and development. Then, pharma gets the patent monopolies and uses them to charge outrageous prices. American families are going bankrupt paying four- and five-figure prices for drugs that their taxpayer dollars already paid to develop!

    ADD YOUR NAME: End pharma monopolies on taxpayer funded drugs!

    Politicians might be tempted by a short-term solution—requiring all COVID-19 treatments, as well as an eventual vaccine, to be low-cost or cost-free. But that doesn’t go far enough. It does nothing to help the Americans with diabetes who are dying every year because they are forced to ration their outrageously priced insulin. It does nothing for seniors, who will soon be spending half their hard-earned Social Security checks on health care costs.5 And it will do nothing to help patients when the next pandemic comes.

    This includes addressing these problems from the legislation which was just passed, including:

    Both the aid to the unemployed and the one-time payments have disappointing limits that without further change will mean some of the lowest-income people will not get help;

    Roughly 30 million people who normally would not have to file tax returns will now have to file in order to receive federal aid. Without a major outreach campaign, many will not be aware of this requirement, especially during a time of quarantine. Congress should instead have payments added to the regular Social Security, SSI or other benefits that seniors, people with disabilities and low-income people rely on.

    Congress must increase maximum SNAP benefits, which are a fast and effective way of injecting money into the economy.

    The CARES bill strengthens the ability of health care providers to respond to COVID-19. But we have to do more. From free medical treatment to protection against eviction to child care and education, we need to invest in holding the essentials together so we can climb out of this disaster.

    Donald Trump wasn’t prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, but the public health community has been preparing for years. The research we’ve funded is going to be critical in the coming months. We’ve already paid for it. Let’s demand that Congress change the law so that we don’t have to pay again.


    Alex Lawson

    Drug Prices Are Too High


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