A Statement by Radical Elders
On Monday, January 30, 2023 President Biden announced that the federal government will end the COVID public health emergency on May 11, 2023. Immediately governors declared an end to their states’COVID public health emergencies on May 11 or before.
Since Biden’s announcement there have been 1 million new cases, 15,000 deaths and 30,000 people hospitalized daily from COVID. Only 16% of U.S. residents have the new multivariant COVID vaccine.
On March 1, 2023, thirty million children and adults lost their SNAP food benefits or had them decreased. Medicaid for 15 million adults and children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) ends March 31, 2023. Among SNAP recipients, older Americans will see the largest benefit decrease per person, according toan analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
It is unconscionable to declare the COVID Pandemic over while rates of COVID infections and related deaths continue at an alarming rate especially in low-income communities of color and in particular among elders.
These communities remain much less likely to have access to tests, vaccines, and treatments and more likely to get COVID, long COVID, serious infections, and related deaths.
Since COVID began three years ago, 75% of all deaths are among elders, with the African-descent, Latinos and Indigenous elders dying at a rate 2–3 times higher than whites. Deaths from COVID-19 have become the third greatest cause of death (after heart disease and cancer), the vast majority of deaths being among the most vulnerable.
Treatment for new COVID infections and vaccines will soon be unaffordable and less accessible. Free COVID rapid home tests for Medicare recipients end May 11th, 2023. Moderna and Pfizer have announced COVID vaccines that were covered by the federal government will now cost $110-$130 each.
Radical Elders commits to fighting for an effective COVID response that addresses the systemic problems in public health, the economy, and decision-making at the root of the COVID emergency, acknowledges the crisis is not over, particularly for elders, and offers resources for the specific prevention and management needs of elders. We understand the federal emergency measures were insufficient but demand they be reinstated and insist they be expanded.
Radical Elders demands that President Biden, his administration, and the federal government:
• Immediately rescind the ending of the COVID Public Health Emergency
• Continue emergency status including expanding Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP),Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as well as free-of-cost COVID-19 tests,
masks, vaccine, and treatment access
Radical Elders asks all family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, unions, worker centers, community organizations, churches, mosques, synagogues and temples to organize petition drives, press conferences,
rallies, COVID information sessions, etc. demanding that President Biden, elected representatives and officials, local Public Health agencies continue and expand the COVID-19 state of emergency.