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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 May 2020

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

photo Shealah Craighead/CC

photo Shealah Craighead/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Jon Dale, secretary, Unite union Nottinghamshire NHS Branch (personal capacity)

More people in the US died from Covid-19 in three months than in nine years of the US armed forces' Vietnam War. The US private healthcare system has been shockingly exposed.

So has the inequality divide condemning millions in the US to poverty and overcrowded housing, sometimes even without running water. Lack of sick pay forces workers to stay at work, even when ill.

Donald Trump is trying to turn attention from this complete system failure. He fosters conspiracy theories about what he calls "the Chinese virus." Normally so quick to boast, his tweets stay silent about his government's previous cuts to public health spending.

In November 2018, the American Journal of Public Health published a series of articles marking the centenary of the so-called 'Spanish' flu pandemic. Between 30 million and 100 million are estimated to have died - the equivalent of 120-400 million of today's global population.

The editors wrote: "We hope that stressing the lessons we have learned and those that we are still attempting to learn can help us avoid that cycle, so that the horrors of 1918 will never be repeated." But "substantial public health funding cuts threaten pandemic readiness.

"Congress and the current administration have cut $1.35 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund over the next ten years, including a 12% budget cut for the Centers for Disease Control, forcing the CDC to reduce its public health efforts in some of the world's hotspots for emerging infectious disease, including China, Pakistan, Haiti, Rwanda, and Congo.

"These cuts have prompted global health organisations to caution that 'critical momentum will be lost if epidemic prevention funding is reduced, leaving the world unprepared for the next outbreak.' Tom Frieden, former director of the CDC, warned that 'like terrorism,' epidemic disease cannot be fought 'just within our borders. You've got to fight epidemic diseases where they emerge.'

"He emphasised that these cuts mean [disease] surveillance systems will die, so we won't know if something happens. The lab networks won't be built, so if something happens, we won't know what it is. [The US] can't be safe if the world isn't safe."

In less than 18 months, these predictions have been borne out, at terrible cost to humanity across the world. Trump ignored these warnings, just as the Tories and New Labour before them downplayed the threat of pandemics, cutting back on essential preparation in favour of short-term profit-seeking.

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In The Socialist 6 May 2020:


What we think

Bosses push to lift lockdown - they only care about profits


Coronavirus news

Dispatches from the NHS front

Bail out the real wealth creators, not the rich

Homes needed to end overcrowding

Homeless left on streets during pandemic

Pay full fees for virtual courses? - No way!

Them&Us

Your donations can keep the Socialist going


Test and trace

Test and trace: workers need a real plan

Tories using pandemic to shift lab testing out of NHS


Workplace news

Nationalise British Airways to stop 12,000 redundancies

Postal workers force Royal Mail back

No increase in transport capacity without adequate safety precautions for workers and passengers

Unsafe Workplace? "It's up to you" PCS tells reps and members

Further protests in Ireland against Debenhams closures - UK fightback needed

Rolls Royce threatens 8,000 job losses

EDF Energy workers furloughed on 100% pay


International news

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

Trump puts profit before safety (again)


Lessons from history

The Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2


Obituary

Peter Hadden remembered


Readers' opinion

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?


 

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