As cases of the omicron Covid variant steamroll through New York, the state government has turned saving lives into a matter of race, prioritizing non-white people to receive treatments. New York claims it is some sort of retribution for “longstanding systemic health and social inequities.”
Last week, New York’s Department of Health released a document to providers titled “Prioritization of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies and Oral Antivirals for the Treatment of COVID-19 During Ties of Resource Limitations Introduction.”
The document lays out a hierarchy of sorts for who gets to receive the limited supplies of monoclonal antibody treatments and oral antiviral pills recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under Emergency Use Authorization.
In addition to individuals considered high-risk such as those who are immunocompromised, aged 65 or older, and overweight, the state provides a “note” that any COVID-infected people who are non-white should receive priority for treatment over white people because of “inequities.”
“Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19,” New York’s Department of Health states.
“Consider race and ethnicity when assessing individual risk, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities may contribute to an increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19,” the memo adds.
New York’s rhetoric is consistent with Dr. Anthony Fauci who stated that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed “the undeniable effects of racism” in America.
“Now, very few of these comorbidities have racial determinants,” said Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden. “Almost all relate to the social determinants of health dating back to disadvantageous conditions that some people of color find themselves in from birth regarding the availability of an adequate diet, access to health care, and the undeniable effects of racism in our society.”
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Freedom in the UK: Johnson ends ‘all Covid measures’ including mask wearing
The United Kingdom is enjoying a huge announcement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced “the end of all Covid measures introduced to combat the Omicron variant – compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, guidance to work from home and vaccine certificates – from next week” reports The Guardian.
For those with coronavirus, the legal requirement for them to self-isolate will also be allowed to lapse when the regulations expire on March 24. Johnson also announced an immediate end for students to wear masks at secondary schools.
“From tomorrow we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas,” Johnson told the Commons.
“In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”
The Prime Minister said Covid data was “showing that time and again this government got the toughest decisions right” and that plan B rules that were put in place in December could all be lifted from next Thursday, the day after a pre-existing review point.
The Guardian notes Britain had expected Johnson would soon be ending work-from-home guidance and the mandate to show a certificate proving vaccination or proof of a recent negative Covid test. However, the immediate lifting of mandatory mask rules will “come as a surprise to some.”
Johnson is receiving some push back from some teaching and health unions. The general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said ministers would “regret sending the wrong signal to the public for political expediency”.
Joint general secretary of the National Education Union Mary Bousted said, “While the trend amongst secondary aged children is down, it is however uncertain, due to the short time schools have been back since the Christmas holidays, that this trend will continue. Such uncertainty could lead to a pronounced risk of increased disruption with children and staff having to isolate.”
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