Tag Archives: COVID-19

Alabama GOP Condemned for Plan to Build Prisons With Covid-19 Funds

“The Republican Party in a nutshell: contemptible, cruel, and corrupt.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-29-2021

Advocates on Wednesday condemned Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for her plan to use coronavirus relief funds to construct prisons. (Photo: Josh Rushing/cc/ACLU of Louisiana)

Local activists in Montgomery, Alabama were joined by rights advocates across the country on Wednesday in condemning Republican Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan to use federal coronavirus relief funds to build three new prisons in the state—what the governor called “an Alabama solution to this Alabama problem” of overcrowding.

At a rally outside the State House as legislators debated the plan, demonstrators spoke about some of the inmates and prison workers who have died of Covid-19—at least 69 people, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. Continue reading

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#UprootTheSystem: Climate Movement Readies Another Global Strike

Youth activists are demanding not only climate action but also equitable Covid-19 vaccine distribution.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-21-

Climate activists are set to hold events worldwide on Friday, September 24, 2021, as part of the latest global climate strike. (Image: fridaysforfuture.org)

Young climate activists including Greta Thunberg are gearing up for another global strike on Friday when they’ll demand that world leaders “uproot the system” to create a just future for all.

“Time and time again the leaders today show that they do not care about the future, at least their actions don’t reflect it,” Thunberg said at a press conference Monday. Continue reading

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With or without the Taliban, COVID and climate will inspire terrorism

Young jihadis across continents are turning to violence – and that will continue whatever the new old rulers of Afghanistan choose to do

By Paul Rogers   Published 8-18-2021 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: The Independent

Seventy-two hours after entering Kabul, the Taliban are effectively in control of all of Afghanistan. The chaotic and heart-breaking scenes at the airport stem in large part from appalling intelligence failures by the US, the British and their NATO allies, and it is difficult to see how their governments can make amends apart from providing emergency humanitarian assistance.

In the UK, there are also direct questions to be asked of Boris Johnson’s government. By last Thursday it was already clear that the Taliban were making substantial gains, but the foreign secretary stayed on holiday and Johnson took off for his own break on Saturday. In the wider international community, the UK’s standing is near rock bottom, and one suspects Johnson is not far off being a laughing stock. Continue reading

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Groups to Congress: Include $34 Billion for Global Vaccine Production in $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan

“For one one-hundredth of the proposed budget, the U.S. could make and deliver billions of vaccine doses and end this horrific pandemic.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-10-2021

Photo: U.S. Secretary of Defense/flickr

A coalition of global health justice organizations on Monday urged Congress to ensure that the $3.5 trillion budget resolution recently introduced by the Senate Democratic Caucus includes $34 billion in funding to ramp up the worldwide manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines.

In a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as well as six committee chairs, a half dozen groups—Public Citizen, Health GAP, Oxfam America, Partners in Health, PrEP4All, and RESULTS—called on lawmakers to allocate a tiny fraction of the funding proposed in Democrats’ reconciliation package to accelerate the global vaccination effort and help bring the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to an end. Failing to do so, the groups warned, will only prolong suffering around the globe. Continue reading

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Lack of Patent Waiver Would Add Over $70 Billion to Cost of Vaccinating World: Oxfam

Most of that money, said a spokesperson for the group, “will go directly into the pockets” of Big Pharma shareholders.

By Jon Queally staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-13-2021

Photo: James Bullock/Twitter

As leaders of the G7 were criticized for failing to rise to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic during their summit in the United Kingdom this weekend, Oxfam International on Saturday warned that failure of the world’s richest nations to fully embrace a lifting of intellectual property protections for life-saving vaccines could ultimately raise the cost of administering shots to the entire world by as much as $74 billion with most of that money going directly into the wallets of pharmaceutical companies and their wealthy shareholders.

Oxfam calculates that if patent protections were waived by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and vaccine production ramped up worldwide people in low- and middle-income nations could be adequately vaccinated for an estimated cost of $6.5 billion, but that if pharmaceutical companies are allowed to retain their for-profit stranglehold on production and distribution that cost would soar to $80 billion. Continue reading

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‘Deeply Alarming’: AstraZeneca Charging South Africa More Than Double What Europeans Pay for Covid-19 Vaccine

“This is the problem when you have essential medicines in the hands of big business, with almost no transparency as to pricing.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-22-2021

Photo: Jmarchn/Wikimedia Commons/CC

“The unfair patent system is now one the biggest obstacles to defeating this virus.”

That was the core critique from Nick Dearden, executive director of the U.K.-based advocacy group Global Justice Now, on Friday morning in response to news this week that South Africa is paying more than double for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine compared to most countries in Europe.

According to a report by The Guardian, a Belgian minister leaked information revealing that European Union members are paying  €1.78 ($2.16) per dose for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Meanwhile, even as the pharmaceutical giant has said it would cap the price at €2.50 (approx. $3) per dose, South Africa’s deputy director general of health Anban Pillay confirmed to the newspaper that it was quoted a price of $5.25 per dose. Continue reading

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As Prisons Across US Report Surge in Covid-19 Cases, Supreme Court Rules Jail Does Not Have to Provide Basic Protections to Inmates

“There is no legal principle justifying this stay. The only ‘principle’ animating it is the belief of the Republican appointees to the Court that prisoners are subhuman.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-6-2020

Orange County Central Jail Complex. Photo by D Ramey Logan / CC BY-SA

As prisons and jails across the country continue to report Covid-19 outbreaks among inmates and staff, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that a county jail in California does not have to provide its population with basic sanitary and protective equipment or test symptomatic inmates.

Responding to an emergency application by officials at Orange County Jail, the court handed down a 5-4 ruling along partisan lines and issued a temporary stay on an earlier ruling by federal Judge Jesus Bernal. Continue reading

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Democrats Demand Trump Reverse ‘Irresponsible’ Order as States Lose Access to Crucial Covid-19 Data

“The Trump administration’s mismanagement of the Covid-19 response and refusal to heed public health expertise continue to put the country in a dangerous position.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-19-2020

TMD testing for COVID-19 on 6-15-2020. Photo: TMD

Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate are demanding that the Trump administration immediately reverse an order requiring hospitals to send Covid-19 patient information directly to a Health and Human Services database instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a change that threw the data-collection process into chaos as states struggle to cope with soaring infections.

NPR reported Friday that “hospital data in Kansas and Missouri is suddenly incomplete or missing” following the Trump administration’s directive, which took effect on July 15 to the dismay of experts and local officials who previously relied on the CDC system to track the coronavirus and allocate resources. Continue reading

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Israel Defense Ministry Launches COVID-19 Voice Test for Americans

A company formed at the behest of the Israeli Ministry of Defense has begun collecting voice data from Americans to detect COVID-19 symptoms through technology with dubious diagnostic value, but highly profitable applications in law enforcement.

By Raul Diego  Published 7-2-2020 by MintPress News

The Israeli Ministry of Defense has launched a project to analyze people’s voices and breathing patterns using artificial intelligence (AI) in order to determine if they have COVID-19. The software allegedly listens for detectable “signs of distress,” ostensibly from the respiratory effects of the virus. A May 27 report in the Jerusalem Post stated that the research was already being conducted at several hospitals in Israel, where confirmed COVID-19 patients were asked to provide voice samples to be compared to those of a control group from the general population.

Results from the research were expected sometime in June. However, the study has now been expanded beyond Israel’s borders. Over one million voice recordings are currently being collected in the United States through a mobile app developed by Massachusetts-based Vocalis Health, under the auspices of the Israeli government. Continue reading

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Growing Number of COVID-19 Cases in Wisconsin Fuels National Demands for Vote-by-Mail

“Congress is running out of time to ensure that the chaos that happened in Wisconsin doesn’t unfold on a national scale come November.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-27-2020

Photo: Don Moynihan/flickr

The increasing number of COVID-19 cases among people who voted in-person for Wisconsin’s April 7 election is fueling demands for Congress to help fund the implementation of expanded vote-by-mail provisions in every state for the rest of this year, particularly for the nation’s general election scheduled for November.

“So far, 36 people who tested COVID-19 positive after April 9 have reported that they voted in person or worked the polls on election day,” Jennifer Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, told Politico Monday As the outlet reported: Continue reading

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