A Statement by Radical Elders
Radical Elders denounces the criminally negligent response to the ongoing threat to the lives and survival of all vulnerable people posed by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic as the latest Omicron variants infect more than 100,000 new people in this country every day (a number that because only counts reported positive tests could be actually ten time as high when unreported positives, and untested infected people are added in).
We demand a fundamental policy change now!
There’s a reason why the US, the world’s richest country, has had the highest death rate from the pandemic of modern industrialized nations.
The U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has always been driven primarily by capitalist concern for the economy and a focus on how favored companies could make money off of it while ignoring the threat posed to the 100 million or so Americans particularly vulnerable because of age, poverty, reliance on mass transit, inadequate or non-existent medical insurance, and the many medical and physical issues related to those conditions.
Rules regarding mask-wearing, which public health experts know should still be worn in all enclosed spaces, have been dropped to exploit the ignorance of some potential voters and benefit capitalist employers more interested in profit than public health. Free PCR tests — the only tests that can assure that a person is not infectious before associating with others— have ended — replaced with quick antigen tests that are often falsely negative when infected people have no symptoms, giving millions daily the deadly, false illusion people are free of the virus, not contagious and are safe to go to work, school or get on public transit.
People, including many in the service industries, are being forced to return to in-person work situations without adequate protections and measures designed to prevent virus spread. Such actions are almost certain to produce Omicron infection.
Eldercare facilities, housing the most vulnerable people, are still plagued by absent or inadequate protection measures and have long been among the leading situations for virus spread.
The country’s prisons cram two million people into cages, denying them tests and vaccines, in a situation perfect for disseminating disease, which then gets spread to guards and visiting relatives who in turn deliver the virus to their families and the world outside the prison walls.
“This threat to elders, among whom African Americans, Latinos & Native Americans have the highest infection and death rates, must end immediately.”
* That beginning immediately, this threat to the elderly and other vulnerable populations end and public health policy going forward be founded on concern for society’s vulnerable, not on professed concerns about the economy, profits or the political demands of people who selfishly only care about their own convenience and don’t care about those who are at risk in society.
* That PCR testing, rapid tests, Covid vaccinations and N-95 masks all be made available free in all public spaces — train stations, schools, churches, workplaces, libraries, town halls, health care centers, etc.
* That the Medicare program be immediately expanded by a national emergency health crisis executive order to cover the health care of people of all ages, and that this expansion then be extended not just while Covid continues to spread, but permanently.
Put simply, we will not accept being ignored or neglected at this time of health crisis.
We demand the means to protect ourselves from this killer epidemic.
Radical Elders is a U.S.-based national organization of elder activists committed to fundamental social change. It practices democracy and intentionality.