About the event:
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About the text:
A New Outlook on Health – Introduction
“When this pamphlet was originally published in 1975, its authors wrote:
We have the most advanced material base of any society in history and the highest standard of living in the world. Our technology enablesus to produce goods to satisfy any conceivable material wants. Yet seven other societies have more doctors per capita than we do. In thirteen other countries pregnant women receive better care. Life expectancy for males in this country is shorter than in twenty-one other countries.
This quote about the contrast between the US’ advanced capitalist economy and wealth and the state of the health of its population is especially stark at the time of the writing of this introduction. The COVID-19 global pandemic, which started at the end of 2019 and began peaking in the US at the end of April 2020, has stripped the world of any illusions that the US could handle the outbreak better than any other country—as it was projected and as the Trump administration boasted. As we send this book to press, the current number of confirmed cases in the world is more than 4.7 million and confirmed deaths is more than 315,000 (although epidemiologists agree that the real numbers for both statistics are orders of magnitude higher). The US alone accounts for almost a third of all of the cases and over a quarter of the fatalities in the world, even though its population is only 4.25% of the global population. Reports of chaos in the medical system include:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refuse WHO test supplies and then send out faulty tests across the country;
- States fight to outbid each other and the federal government for scarce medical supplies;
- COVID-19 hospitals allot nurses one surgical mask per week;
- Hospital workers wear rain ponchos and trash bags as surgical gowns and bandanas as masks;
- The federal government gives Carte Blanche to private corporations to develop their own tests that are rushed to market without regulation or regulatory agency approval leading to wildly inaccurate results;
- Contradictory information about which health insurance companies would cover the cost of tests and treatment and how much individual patients would be responsible for;
- Elected officials call on the elderly to sacrifice their lives to save the economy;
- Federal health agencies actively advise the population that wearing masks is useless, then reverses course several weeks later to advise everyone to wear face coverings in public;
- Sick but uninsured people are turned away at health clinics and hospitals only to succumb to the illness at home;
- Bodies buried in mass graves because hospital morgues can’t keep up with the dead;
- The US president suggests that COVID-19 could be eliminated by beaming sunshine directly inside the patient or injecting disinfectant into the lungs.
These reports, and many more, are true.
When A New Outlook on Health was published, hospitals were flush with money from federal grants for expansion and modernization. Most Americans were covered by the then-nonprofit Blue Cross health insurance, and the method for hospitals to maximize profits was extended inpatient care with excessive testing. Today, on the other hand, the US is facing a deadly pandemic with hospitals lacking the most basic supplies like gloves, masks and disinfectant. How did we get here?…”
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