Daily Archives: December 1, 2021

“The Viral Underclass”: COVID-19 and AIDS Show What Happens When Inequality and Disease Coll ide


1 Dec 2021
As December 1 marks World AIDS Day, we look at the pandemic that preceded COVID-19 and how recorded deaths of complications from the coronavirus this year have surpassed those of HIV/AIDS in the United States. The head of UNAIDS has warned the COVID-19 pandemic may result in an increase in infections and deaths from HIV and AIDS. Both viruses disproportionately impacted vulnerable minority communities. Although treatment rollout for HIV/AIDS was uniquely inhibited by homophobia, racism, and sexism, it was also plagued by corporate greed and U.S. exceptionalism. “We’re seeing very similar dynamics again now with COVID-19,” says Steven Thrasher, professor at Northwestern University in the Medill School of Journalism and the Institute of Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. “We have the vaccines, we have medications that are very effective, and they’re again being held from the Global South to protect the profits of pharmaceutical corporations.”

“Farewell to British Colonial Rule”: Barbados Breaks From the Queen as Calls Grow For Repara tions


1 Dec 2021
Barbados has become the world’s newest republic breaking ties with Queen Elizabeth 55 years after it became an independent nation, saying it was time for Barbados to break from its colonial past. The move comes as calls grow for the United Kingdom to pay reparations for enacting a regime of slavery in Barbados. While it was an occasion for celebration, it was also “55 years overdue” and should have happened when Barbados won its independence in 1966, says David Comissiong, Barbados’s ambassador to the Caribbean Community and the Association of Caribbean States. “Barbados was a center of British power. You don’t get rid of the imprint of that history so easily.”

Amazon Workers in Alabama Get New Shot at Union After NLRB Rules Company Broke the Law in 1st Vote


Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama may soon get another chance to decide whether to unionize. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Amazon violated U.S. labor law while waging an aggressive anti-unionization campaign against warehouse workers earlier this year in Bessemer, Alabama. This comes as Amazon workers worldwide from Bangladesh to Germany campaigned on Black Friday for fairer working conditions under the banner, “Make Amazon Pay.” “If Amazon is trying to eat the world, it’s also bringing many disparate sets of workers and activists and communities together to fight against them,” says Alex Press, staff writer at Jacobin.

China ramps up aid to African countries


Sanusha Naidu with the Institute for Global Dialogue and commentator Einar Tangen discuss China-Africa economic and trade ties.

Africa, Far Behind – The New York Times

By David Leonhardt

Dec. 1, 2021, 6:32 a.m. ET

Last week, just days before scientists discovered the Omicron variant, South Africa’s government asked Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer not to make some planned deliveries of their Covid-19 vaccines. The country already had more doses in storage than it could use — about 16 million, in a country of 60 million people — and officials were worried that further supplies would spoil before they could be used.

How could that be?

The main answer should be familiar to Americans: vaccine skepticism. “There is a fair amount of apathy and hesitancy,” Dr. Shabir Madhi, a vaccination expert in South Africa, told Reuters. For similar reasons, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi have asked donors to pause vaccine deliveries, my colleague Declan Walsh has reported.

(This article on vaccine skepticism in Africa, by Lynsey Chutel and Max Fisher, has more detail.)

The sources of the skepticism are different in the U.S. and in Africa. In much of Africa, they are related to decades of exploitation and poverty. In the U.S., the biggest cause is political polarization: More than 35 percent of Republican voters are unvaccinated, compared with fewer than 10 percent of Democrats.

But both forms of skepticism stem from distrust — of experts, institutions and government leaders. And that distrust has become a major reason that the world is struggling to defeat Covid. The more people remain unvaccinated, the more the Covid virus spreads and the more people die. Less vaccination also increases the chances that dangerous variants will emerge.

…(read more).