Things That Matter

AOC Has Strong Words About The Trump Administration’s Response To The COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis

The Trump administration’s COVID-19 response has left a lot to be desired by health experts, scientists, and politicians. Many believe that President Donald Trump fumbled the response at the beginning of the pandemic, leading to the current crisis. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one person demanding more action from the federal government.

AOC was a guest on Jake Tapper’s “State of the Union” and the topic was COVID-19.

AOC’s hometown is experiencing the worst spread of COVID-19 infections than any other city in the U.S. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addresses the press every morning offering updates on how the virus is spreading through New York state in comparison to the U.S.

Gov. Cuomo has echoed the same warnings from health experts on the need for social distancing and self-isolation to flatten the curve. The fear right now is that hospitals will be overrun with cases in the coming weeks. By social distancing and self-isolating, health experts predict that the U.S. would be able to flatten the curve and alleviate some of the stress that will be placed on the U.S. healthcare system.

AOC’s argument of the Trump administration not doing enough is being heard across the medical industry.

“I have several major hospitals in my district from Jacobi Medical Center to Elmhurst Hospital, New York-Presbyterian, and one of the things that we are hearing over and over again from hospitals again is this point on personal protective equipment,” AOC says. “There are not enough face masks, gloves, ventilators, [and] hospital beds to get us through this. Many hospitals are already at capacity or are approaching capacity and there is kind of no real stream insight from the federal government on where these materials are coming from.”

AOC added: “Companies are donating what they can. That is great. It is not enough. The fact that the president has not really invoked the Defense Production Act for the purpose of emergency manufacturing is going to cost lives.”

AOC continued in calling out the Trump administration and how it downplayed the very serious risk at the beginning of the outbreak.

“It is absolutely needed. We are thankful to anyone who is pitching in on this effort, but we are nowhere near the bed and the capacity that we need in this country. We’re hearing it every step of the way with this administration. First, we were hearing that it’s a hoax. Then we were hearing that everything was fine. Then we were hearing that the fundamentals of the economy were okay until the crash comes,” AOC says. “We cannot wait until people start really dying in large numbers to start production, especially if more complicated equipment like ventilators and hospital beds. We need to start this production right now to get ready for the surge that is coming in two to three weeks.”

Health experts have criticized the president for downplaying the true dangers of the virus at the beginning of the U.S. outbreak. Trump has faced renewed criticism for wanting to open the U.S. for business by April 12. Experts claim that opening the country for business that early could lead to more deaths and an increased infection rate.

Remember, the best things you can do is work from home if possible, practice social distancing when in public, and washing your hands. This can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.

READ: Hand Sanitizer Was Invented By A Latina Nursing Student In The 1960s

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Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Entertainment

Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Photo via Getty Images

While the United States is as of publication, has vaccinated over 75 million people against COVID-19 since mid-December, the rest of the world is still catching up. Poorer countries, for example, are struggling to procure enough vaccines for essential workers–let alone their entire population.

Luckily, certain charitable business are making it their mission to get vaccines to the most needy. For example, anti-poverty organization Global Citizen has organized a charity concert with the aim of getting COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.

Selena Gomez will be hosting the concert, called “VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World”. And none other than Jennifer Lopez will be headlining.

Selena Gomez took to Twitter to announce her involvement in the exciting project. “I’m honored to be hosting ‘VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World,’ ” she wrote.

“This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Jennifer Lopez also took to Twitter to announce her involvement with VAX Live, saying that she is “calling for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution for all”. That’s a statement we can get behind!

Jennifer Lopez isn’t the only superstar performing. Other acts will include J Balvin, H.E.R., and the Foo Fighters.

Global Citizen has one goal: to raise $22 billion for global vaccinations via corporate and philanthropic donors. They’re hoping VAX Live will bring awareness to their efforts.

“There are 27 million healthcare workers globally who don’t have access to the vaccine,” said Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans to the Associated Press. “I’m 38 years old, and it’s not ethical for me to have access to the vaccine before these heroic first responders and community health workers. So we need governments to start urgently donating those doses.”

Tom Hart, the executive director for another anti-poverty organization, The ONE Campaign, also reiterated the importance of getting vaccine doses into the hands of developing countries.

“Low-income countries not only need this welcome fundraising effort; they need access to COVID-19 vaccine doses,” Tom Hart said.

“The United States has secured over 550 million excess doses that could be used to help end the global pandemic faster.”

You can catch VAX LIVE on ABC, CBS, and iHeartMedia stations on 8:00 p.m. ET on May 8th. It will also be airing on Fox starting at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT the same day. You’ll also be able to catch an extended version on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel on May 8th as well.

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Things That Matter

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo via Getty Images

Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

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