Despite the way mainstream media framed Joe Biden’s diagnosis as a positive, public health is failing in America
In the current COVID-19 outbreak, the US finds itself in an unending cycle of infections and reinfections. Though official statistics suggest the country is experiencing its seventh wave, it would be more accurate to say that it’s on a continual plateau as cases are underreported and community transmission remains high on the back of virtually all containment measures being abandoned.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reported that only 7 percent of COVID-19-related cases are officially being detected in America. This is due to the widespread use of home tests, which have limited reporting options to government officials. This math is applied to the 7-day average. The US currently has approximately 1.9 million COVID-19 cases daily, compared with the 129,000 reported.
We were both in the US about seven days this summer and tested positive. This is to give you some indication of how widespread the virus really is. In the more than two-years since the outbreak, I’ve never contracted COVID-19. Only after I was able to return to the USA and adhered strictly (or not) with existing regulations did I get sick.
What’s more, the virus is still circulating even at the highest levels of American society. The virus was detected in the United States by the first time it has been identified. President Joe Biden, who had mild symptoms and tested positive on July 21st for COVID-19, is the latest US president to contract the disease. After a week, Biden apparently recovered and posted a negative result.
During that week, though, the mainstream American media put a very interesting spin on Biden’s diagnosis. Leana Wen, in an opinion column published by the Washington Post, stated that it is “an opportunity for his administration to demonstrate the success of his leadership on the pandemic and what living with the coronavirus looks like.”
“Biden should use his illness as an opportunity to inform the public that COVID-19 is a manageable disease for almost everyone, so long as they use the tools available to them,” Wen suggests.
However, this statement is absurd. It’s perhaps true for Biden, the president of the United States, that he has access to the best medical care in the world – but that is not the case for the average person. Over 2,000 Americans are being killed by the virus every week. More people will suffer from lingering, often fatal effects.
My own diagnosis was something I worried about. I was fortunate to have my vaccines and boosters, so the prognosis for me as a 26 year-old woman with no known underlying conditions seemed good. However, the fear of things going wrong is frightening. I don’t live in the US and therefore don’t have health insurance there, and since I’m 26 that means I’m not insured under my parent’s plan. If I ended up needing medical care, I would face steep challenges in acquiring it – and emergency care would have put me in serious debt.
Thank goodness my symptoms were quite mild so I made it through to the other side. My partner was the same. But what’s alarming is those older adults or those with pre-existing conditions that don’t have access to adequate medical care. Biden’s outlook is likely to be worse if he were a working-class American without insurance.
Sure, it’s true that Pfizer’s antiviral, Paxlovid, which Biden is touting, may be effective against COVID-19. You might get it for free. You will need to go to a doctor in order to get prescriptions. This can cost you money. For the average person, this can quickly add up.
Wen once again reminds Americans that COVID-19 has much to offer. “Indeed, this is almost certainly not the only time Biden will get the coronavirus. He, like the rest of us, could contract the virus once a year or more,”Sie wrote.
This is a frightening prediction, despite the optimistic message. According to the forecast, Americans living in poverty can expect an annual threat to life and well-being. The coronavirus’s worst side effects can only be avoided by those who have the financial means.
Biden’s encounter with COVID-19 is not a shot of hope, that somehow if a 79-year-old like him can survive a bout of coronavirus then anyone can. This exposes the deep inequality of American healthcare and reveals the working-class squalor.
Each metric shows that average people’s health is declining. Americans’ life expectancy is declining, not only thanks to COVID-19 but so-called deaths of despair, and once-devastating but now-treatable diseases like the bubonic plague are making a comeback in poor neighborhoods. Last week, New York was the site of its first case of Polio since almost 10 years. Monkeypox is also a threat.
In the nation, public health is in serious decline. Biden becoming the poster boy for Pfizer’s new pill makes no difference.