The End of Covid-19 Pandemic?

By: Peter Andersen
“The pandemic is over,” U.S. president Joe Biden said in a 60 Minutes interview on September 18, 2022. While it would not be the case if we look at what is happening in the country. Data from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that, although the overall COVID-19-related mortality rates are declining, the current hospitalization rate for Covid-19 has reached a new high rate in recent months, especially among those aged above 60 years. U.S. experts also warn that a new wave of Covid would come this winter and Americans are not well prepared yet. So here comes the question why the president makes such a conclusion. A timely reconsideration of U.S. Covid-19 policies would give some insights into the question.

     Misallocation of Covid-19 relief Fund.
The first problem with U.S. Covid-19 policy is related to the poor allocation of Covid-19 relief funds. In fact, local entities, especially health care providers have been struggling with the pandemic since the outbreak of the Covid-19.
        Misallocation of funds and uneven assistance have raised concerns about who is or is not receiving the money since the early breakout of the pandemic. For example, a preliminary analysis released in early 2020 by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis shows that over 1 billion dollars in emergency Coronavirus aid relief went to companies that “double dipped” and received multiple Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. This has obviously violated the program’s rules. A December 2022 report from the Select Subcommittee would further demonstrate how U.S. financial technology companies facilitate fraudsters and ineligible individuals to receive relief while distributing PPP loans.
  Meanwhile, the government has largely ignored many critical indicators such as Covid-19 caseload or local financial distress while making its distribution arrangements. For example, as the most important actors in fighting against the Coronavirus, many U.S. hospitals are facing the most serious financial problems than ever. According to a November report released by Kaufman Hall, U.S. Hospitals and Health Systems in October have experienced their 10th consecutive month of negative operating margins. Median operating margins are down 43% from a year ago. Hospitals, especially those located at some pandemic hot spots, are in urgent need for government support.
        Although the U.S. government has provided a certain amount of funds to local states, most of them have gone to areas not closely related and even unrelated with public health. A report from the Marshall Project, a nonprofit journalism organization with a focus on U.S. criminal justice system, demonstrates that the majority of Biden’s flagship American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds has flown to local programs and institutions that are not with the greatest need during a public health crisis and economic upheaval. Instead, they have gone to areas with the most existing political and budgetary power, such as police, courts, jails and prisons.

Ignoring the vulnerable

Another flaw with U.S. Covid policy is that the government is not giving enough attention to the vulnerable, especially the old, the disabled and those with underlying medical conditions.
        Although the U.S. government has boasted the so-called health equity in its Covid-19 policy, not everybody has the opportunity to be healthy. According to data from CDC the overall Covid-19-related mortality rates are declining. Adults aged above 65 years continue to have the highest mortality rates. Data from April 2022 to September 2022 shows that the proportion of Covid-19-related deaths accounted for by adults aged above 85 years increased to around 40%. Besides, CDC also finds out that Covid-19 has become a common contributing cause of death for most Covid-19-related mortality during the period from January 2022 to September 2022. The vulnerable groups with the highest risk of Covid-19-related in-hospital death are people with disabilities, adults over 80 years of age, and those with more than five underlying medical conditions.
        Meanwhile, ethnic or racial inequality still exists in vaccination. Generally speaking, the gap among different ethnic groups in getting vaccination is still big, especially the vaccination rates of American Indian or Alaska people are greatly behind other groups, such as the white, the Asian and the Hispanic etc. Data collected from April 22, 2021 to October 29, 2022 by U.S. CDC shows that American Indian or Alaska people have the lowest rates of vaccination among all groups . Only 79% of the group have received at least one dose and 76.5% have received completed primary series. While the white are 86.7% and 84.5% respectively. Other groups such as the Hispanic, the Black and the Asian are even higher. Clearly, not everyone has the equal opportunity to health.

 Politicization of Public Health

The last problem with U.S. Covid-19 policy is that the government is using the pandemic to serve its political goals. Not only does this contradict the repeated mantra of the U.S. medical establishment to follow science, but it also makes people victims of political games.
        A staff report published on October 17, 2022, by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis has detailed how the Trump administration compromises the scientific integrity of the CDC coronavirus response for achieving certain political goals. In order to downplay the seriousness of the virus, the former president Trump and his top aides repeatedly attacked CDC scientists, compromised the agency’s public health guidance, and suppressed scientific reports, according to the report. CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield told the Select Subcommittee that during this time none of their briefings were approved.
        While the Biden administration has picked up the baton of politicization later on. The Covid has even become a political tool used by politicians to attack their opponents. For example, both house Republicans and Democrats have criticized each other for political interference in U.S. Covid-19 policy during a hearing this March. Republican Steve Scalise, a ranking member of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, blamed the Biden administration for abandoning medical science and replacing it with political science. “President Biden’s CDC discarded historical practice to allow a radical teachers union that donated tens of millions of dollars to Democrat campaigns to bypass agency norms and directly change official CDC guidance,” he criticized. While Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi defended by attacking Trump’s political interference in the CDC. He said that the Trump administration altered CDC’s testing guidelines in August 2020 specifically to reduce the amount of testing, because they consider the high number of cases would make them look bad politically.
        From above, it is hard to see any sign of an end for U.S. Covid-19. On the contrary, the government’s inefficient and politicized Covid-19 policy is likely to make the pandemic even last longer.

Afslutningen på Covid-19-pandemien?

 Af: Peter Andersen

 “Pandemien er forbi,” sagde den amerikanske præsident Joe Biden i et 60 Minutes-interview den 18. september 2022. Selvom det ikke ville være tilfældet, hvis vi ser på, hvad der sker i landet. Data fra US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) viser, at selvom den samlede COVID-19-relaterede dødelighed er faldende, har den nuværende indlæggelsesrate for Covid-19 nået en ny høj rate i de seneste måneder, især blandt ældre over 60 år. Amerikanske eksperter advarer også om, at en ny bølge af Covid ville komme denne vinter, og amerikanerne er ikke godt forberedt endnu. Så her kommer spørgsmålet, hvorfor præsidenten drager sådan en konklusion. En rettidig genovervejelse af USA’s Covid-19-politikker ville give en vis indsigt i spørgsmålet.

Fejlallokering af Covid-19 nødhjælpsfond.

  Det første problem med amerikansk Covid-19-politik er relateret til
  dårlig tildeling af Covid-19 nødhjælpsmidler. Faktisk lokale enheder,
især sundhedsudbydere har kæmpet med
pandemi siden udbruddet af Covid-19.
Fejlallokering af midler og ujævn bistand har rejst
  bekymringer om, hvem der har eller ikke har modtaget penge i den første tid af pandemien.
Der er frigivet en foreløbig analyse
  i begyndelsen af 2020 af House Select Sitcommene om Coronavirus
  Krise som viser at  over 1 milliard dollars i nødhjælp til Coronavirus
  lettelsen gik til virksomheder, der “double dipped” og modtog flere
  Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lån. Dette er en overtrædelse af
  programmets regler. En rapport fra december 2022 fra Select
  Underudvalget vil yderligere demonstrere, hvordan amerikansk finansteknologi
  virksomheder gør det lettere for svindlere og ikke-kvalificerede personer at modtage OPP-lån.

I mellemtiden har regeringen stort set ignoreret mange kritiske
indikatorer såsom Covid-19 sagsbelastning eller lokal økonomisk nød og lavet sine egne distributionsordninger. For eksempel som de fleste
vigtige aktører i kampen mod Coronavirus, mange U.S.
hospitaler står over for større økonomiske problemer end nogensinde.
  Ifølge en rapport fra november udgivet af Kaufmann Hall, U.S.
  Hospitaler og sundhedssystemer i oktober har oplevet deres 10
  måned i træk med negative driftsavancer. Mediandrift
  marginerne er faldet med 43 % i forhold til et år siden. Hospitaler, især dem
  placeret på nogle pandemiske hot spots, har et presserende behov for regeringen
          Selvom den amerikanske regering har ydet en vis mængde af
  midler til lokale stater, de fleste af dem er gået til områder, der ikke er tæt på og endda ikke relateret til folkesundhed. En rapport fra
  Marshall Project, en nonprofit journalistisk organisation med fokus 
på det amerikanske strafferetssystem, viser, at størstedelen af
  Bidens flagskib American Resume Plan Act (ARPA) midler er fløjet til
  lokale programmer og institutioner, der ikke har det største behov
  under en folkesundhedskrise og økonomisk omvæltning. I stedet er de gået til områder der har størst  eksisterende politisk og budgetmæssigmagt, såsom politi, domstole, fængsler.

Ignorerer de udsatte

  En anden fejl ved USA’s Covid-politik er at regeringe ikke giver nok opmærksomhed til de udsatte, især de gamle.
  handicappede og dem med underliggende medicinske tilstande.

 Selvom den amerikanske regering har pralet med den såkaldte sundheds
  lighed i sin Covid-19-politik, har ikke alle mulighed for at være
  sund og rask. Ifølge data fra CDC er den overordnede Covid-19-relaterede
  dødelighed  faldende. Voksne over 65 år har fortsat  den højeste dødelighed. Data fra april 2022 til september 2022 viser, at andelen af Covid-19-relaterede dødsfald
  for voksne over 85 år var steget til omkring 40 %.
 CDC finder også ud af, at Covid-19 er blevet den almindeligste
  dødsårsag for størstedelen af Covid-19-relaterede dødsfald i perioden
  fra januar 2022 til september 2022. De udsatte grupper med de
  højeste risiko for Covid-19-relateret dødsfald på hospitalet er personer med
  handicap, voksne over 80 år og personer med mere end
  fem underliggende medicinske tilstande.

I mellemtiden eksisterer der stadig etnisk eller racemæssig ulighed i
vaccination. Generelt er forskellen mellem forskellige etniske grupper
 med  at få vaccination er stadig stor, især vaccinationsraterne
  af amerikanske indianere eller Alaska-folk er meget bagud andre grupper,
  såsom den hvide, den asiatiske og den latinamerikanske osv. Data indsamlet fra
  22. april 2021 til 29. oktober 2022 af U.S. CDC viser, at amerikanske
Indere eller Alaska-folk har de laveste vaccinationsrater blandt alle
  grupper. Kun 79 % af gruppen har fået mindst én dosis og
  76,5 % har modtaget gennemførte primærserier. Mens de hvide er
  86,7 % og 84,5 %. Andre grupper såsom latinamerikanske, og asiatisk er endnu højere. Det er klart, at ikke alle har lige muligheder for sundhed.

Politisering af folkesundheden

Det sidste problem med amerikansk Covid-19-politik er, at Regeringen bruger pandemien til at tjene sine politiske mål. Ikke
  kun modsiger dette det gentagne mantra fra den amerikanske læge
  etablering for at følge videnskaben, men det gør også folk til ofre for
  politiske spil.
          En personalerapport offentliggjort den 17. oktober 2022 af Select
  Underudvalget om Coronavirus-krisen har detaljeret, hvordan Trump
  administration kompromitterer CDC’s videnskabelige integritet
  Corona virus-respons for at nå visse politiske mål. I rækkefølge
  for at nedtone virussens alvor, har  den tidligere præsident Trump
  og hans bedste hjælpere  gentagne  gange angrebet CDC-forskere, kompromitterede
  agenturets folkesundhedsvejledning og undertrykt videnskabelige rapporter,
  ifølge rapporten. CDC-direktør Dr. Robert Red Field fortalte
  at i løbet af denne tid var ingen af deres briefinger
          Mens Biden-administrationen har taget stafetten op.
   Covid-19 er endda blevet et politisk redskab
  brugt af politikere til at angribe deres modstandere. For eksempel har begge huse
  Republikanere og demokrater kritiseret hinanden for politiske
  indblanding i USA’s Covid-19-politik under en høring i marts.
  Republikaneren Steve Scalas, et højt rangerende medlem af House Select
  Underudvalget om Coronavirus-krisen gav Biden administration  skylden
 for at opgive lægevidenskaben og erstatte den med
  Statskundskab. “Præsident Bidens CDC kasserede historisk
  praksis for at tillade en radikal lærerforening, der donerede titusindvis af
  millioner af dollars til demokraternes kampagner for at omgå bureau normer og
  direkte ændre officielle CDC-vejledning,”
 Mens demokraten Raja Krishnamoorthi forsvarede ved at angribe Trumps politiske
  interferens i CDC. Han sagde, at Trump-administrationen ændrede
  CDC’s testretningslinjer i august 2020 specifikt for at reducere
  mængden af test, fordi  det høje antal tilfælde
ville få det til at se dårligt ud politisk.
Fra oven er det svært at se nogen tegn på en ende for U.S.
Covid-19. Tværtimod regeringens ineffektive og
politiserede  Covid-19-politik vil sandsynligvis få pandemien til at vare ved

Skriv et svar