How does the health balance sheet look after one year of the pandemic? Well, 119m people (or just 2% of the world’s population) have been reported as infected, although if we include those who had no symptoms and those who did not report being ill, the figure is probably more like 15-20%. There have been 2.6m reported as having died of the disease. So that’s a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.2% globally. In some countries the CFR is way higher – Mexico’s CFR is close to 9%; Italy, the UK and South Africa CFRs are close to 3%. The variation is down to the age of those infected, the general health of the population and the resources and efficacy of the health systems in each country.
With the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, ‘vaccine nationalism’ is only slightly more rife than the calls against it. The focus on ‘vaccine nationalism’ by critical thinkers and activists misses some key lessons of the pandemic elaborated in my October 2020 article, “Access to medical supplies and devices – the lesser known story of COVID-19 and medical monopoly.” This piece summarises my October 2020 piece and links it to new developments, most importantly, the need to organize for a ZERO-COVID approach to ending the pandemic.
It all depends on whether the UK economy can ‘’grow out’’ of its debt burden as it did after the second world war through a combination of high public investment and rising inflation (that eventually forced the devaluation of the pound). Given that the profitability of capital in the UK is at an all-time low and the business investment rate worse than in any other major economy, the prospects of achieving that are small. Before this parliamentary term ends, the UK economy could be facing a new economic crisis.
Internationally known US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has reported to friends and family on the outside that he has contracted Covid-19 in the Pennsylvania prison where he is incarcerated, and says he is having difficulty breathing. His life is in immediate danger and he is in urgent need of hospital care.
A team of leading Finnish researchers had a patent-free COVID-19 vaccine ready last May, which could have allowed countries all over the world to inoculate their populations without paying top dollar. Yet rather than help the initiative, Finland’s government sided with Big Pharma — showing how a patent-based funding model puts profit over public health.
The world has been preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has also affected policymakers everywhere. There is much more recognition today of the terrible effects of underfunding public health over decades and how this affects the resilience of economies and societies. Yet this official preoccupation with addressing the spread of infectious disease appears to have had an unanticipated negative effect: less policy attention to concerns of food security and hunger. Poor nutrition is a major underlying factor affecting overall health conditions as well as resistance to disease, yet politicians and global leaders seem to have taken their eyes off that particular ball.
If you’ve found yourself impulsively shopping online during quarantine, you’re not alone. And there’s no shame in it. But this is our corona-capitalist dystopia: purchasing things we may or may not need while desperately needed public services are left to rot.
Before the pandemic, private equity had amassed $2.5 trillion – more than the GDP of Italy – in 'dry powder,' waiting for distressed assets to plunder. Covid-19 provided them with the perfect opportunity.
In response to the pandemic, politicians in Ottawa set up an emergency wage subsidy scheme that was meant to help workers. But some of Canada’s biggest firms have milked the subsidy scheme for billions while paying out dividends and laying off staff.
Cargill runs Canada’s biggest meatpacking facility and obliged its workers to come in despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the company is facing a criminal investigation — the first of its kind — after the sadly predictable deaths of workers and their family members.
Michael Roberts Blog | Mainstream economics cannot deliver even on its own terms because it makes two basic assumptions that are not based on reality; one in so-called ‘microeconomics’ and one in so-called ‘macroeconomics’. As a result, mainstream falls down as a scientific analysis of modern (capitalist) economies.
"Pathogens, a great and terrible global threat to human and many a non-human alike, [are] as much a Sword of Damocles hovering above civilisation as climate change." - Evolutionary epidemiologist Rob Wallace
Over a century later, and over two decades after the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis exposed the systemic financial fragility creating conditions for the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the reluctance to learn from the East continues, ignoring Prophet Muhammad’s advice to ‘seek knowledge, even unto China’.
It is important for American journalists to combat these misperceptions, so that the US can learn from China’s response on how to better deal with the current crisis—saving lives in this as well as future pandemics, as well as reducing tensions between the nuclear powers US and China.
The U.S. economy and society at the start of 2021 is more polarized than it has been at any point since the Civil War. The wealthy are awash in a flood of riches, marked by a booming stock market, while the underlying population exists in a state of relative, and in some cases even absolute, misery and decline. The result is two national economies as perceived, respectively, by the top and the bottom of society: one of prosperity, the other of precariousness. ... Comprehending the basic parameters of today’s financialized capitalist system is the key to understanding the contemporary contagion of capital, a corrupting and corrosive cash nexus that is spreading to all corners of the U.S. economy, the globe, and every aspect of human existence.