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One million people killed by capitalism

Originally published: Struggle-La Lucha on May 23, 2022 by Stephen Millies (more by Struggle-La Lucha)  | (Posted May 24, 2022)
‘We Care’ Memorial Wall pays tribute to those who died of COVID-19 in New York nursing homes.

One million people in the United States have died of COVID-19. Coronavirus was written on their death certificates as the cause.

But they were really killed by poverty, racism and capitalism.

Even compared to other capitalist countries, the U.S. has a much higher death rate from COVID-19. If the United States had the same number of COVID fatalities per thousand people as Australia does, 900,000 people would still be alive.

At the beginning of the pandemic, reactionaries scoffed at the coronavirus. The late, unlamented, bigoted windbag Rush Limbaugh told his 12 million radio listeners on Feb. 24, 2020, that the coronavirus was just the common cold.

The Wall Street Journal devoted an entire page of its March 25, 2020, issue to pour scorn on the risks. “Is COVID-19 as Deadly as They Say?” was the page’s lead headline.

Two years later, over 84 million people in the U.S. were counted as having gotten the disease. The real number is much higher because of a lack of initial testing and unreported figures from home testing.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, half the U.S. population became infected with COVID-19. That includes 75 percent of children and adolescents.

Viruses don’t discriminate, but capitalism does. In zip code 11369―the East Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens, New York, where Malcolm X lived with his family―one out of every 117 people died of COVID-19. That’s a rate almost three times the U.S. average.

In the Navajo Nation, 1,771 people died of Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19 (COVID-19). Latinx people are 18% of the U.S. population while having 24% of the COVID cases.

Essential workers were deliberately put in harm’s way. Nurses and other workers at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital had to wear Hefty garbage bags as their personal protective equipment.

Over 150 transit workers in New York City died of the virus. Mass Transit Authority chief safety officer Pat Warren initially forbade workers from wearing masks.

In the first 11 months of the pandemic, over 59,000 employees at the four biggest meatpacking companies became infected. At least 269 workers died in the industry.

Most of these workers were Latinx, Black and/or immigrants. John Tyson and other dead animal capitalists got Trump to sign an executive order that drove workers back to the unsafe plants.

Demanding Chinese people die

Another big killer during the pandemic are high rents. Behind the slumlord is the bank or insurance company owning the cockroach capitalist’s mortgage.

Overcrowded housing makes social distancing impossible. Many are forced to double up in homes with their sister’s or brother’s family.

After the declining number of deaths in the last few months, there’s been a new push to downplay wearing masks. Schools and colleges were reopened without adequate protection.

Then came the highly contagious BA.2 Omicron subvariant. U.S. COVID cases soared to 171,000 on May 18. That same day socialist Cuba, despite a cruel U.S. economic blockade, had 61 cases.

Also on May 18, the White House held its first pandemic briefing in six weeks.

One million COVID deaths in the U.S. means 30 people died in an average small town with a population of 10,000. Despite that miserable record, the capitalist media are attacking the People’s Republic of China for doing too much  to combat the coronavirus.

The Economist claimed in an April 16 editorial that “the zero-COVID policy has become a dead end from which the Communist Party has no quick exit.” To this mouthpiece of the Anglo-American financial aristocracy, profits are always more precious than life, especially the lives of poor people.

Socialist China, with over four times the population of the United States, has suffered 14,583 deaths from COVID-19. This figure includes the capitalist special administrative region of Hong Kong, which had 9,366 deaths.

Hong Kong lagged behind the rest of China in taking necessary safety measures against COVID. Now it’s catching up.

Yet Hong Kong’s death rate from the coronavirus is about a quarter of New York City’s rate. Not only is the Big Apple the capital of capitalism. It’s also a center of the $4 trillion U.S. medical-industrial complex.

Eight medical schools are located in New York City, along with Rockefeller University, a leading research institution. That didn’t help people in East Elmhurst too much.

In the first year of the pandemic, more than 3,600 health-care workers died of COVID in the United States. Despite these workers’ valiant efforts, the capitalist medical system is unable to combat pandemics.

Socialist Cuba has the highest number of doctors per population in the world. But it doesn’t have a single health insurance company.

We need what Cuba has: free, quality health care for all.

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