CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, July 23, 2021
July 23, 2021
The Pandemic of the Unvaccinated edition. New COVID-19 infections are on the rise in all 50 states, in some cases sharply. The Delta variant is flourishing, racing through the bodies of the unvaccinated, particularly in Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, where most people have not received their shots, and in Florida, which critics say opened up too fully and too quickly. In Arkansas, where only 44.5 percent are fully vaccinated, there are 38 new cases per 100,000 residents. Contrast that with Vermont, with its 77.3 percent vaccination rate and just two cases per 100,000 residents.
“We are either going to get vaccinated and end the virus. Or we are going to accept death,” a Louisiana doctor told CBS Evening News.
There is some good news. This week, more Republican leaders began urging their constituents to get vaccinated. This included Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the second-ranking House Republican. He got his vaccination last weekend and urged his followers to do the same. And it included Fox host Sean Hannity who said this week, “I believe in the science of vaccination.”
Meanwhile, the CDC this week released new, startling statistics showing that Americans’ life expectancy took a nosedive between 2019 and 2020. But again, like everything related to the pandemic, all was not equal. Latinx people experienced the greatest drop in life expectancy – three years – and Blacks saw a decrease of 2.9 years. Whites experienced the smallest decline, of 1.2 years. “American society has become far more unequal than it used to be, and the recent increases in mortality are concentrated among working-class Americans, especially those without a four-year college degree,” the New York Times wrote.
Just as we will not defeat the pandemic by declining vaccinations and engaging in unsafe practices, we also will not reverse the decline in life expectancy by allowing inequality, poverty, and lack of opportunity to continue or worsen.
That is why the work in Congress is so important. It is why we must tell our Senators and Representatives that we need infrastructure – both the human and the physical kind. It is why we must address housing and nutrition assistance and home care and affordable child care – and so much more.
This week, please remind Congress that child care and early childhood education are essential parts of our infrastructure