Enabled by Imperialism, Fueled by Fascist Ignorance and Rampant Individualism—COVID Pandemic Enters Its Third Year

Multiple funeral pyres in New Delhi, India cremate bodies of people who died of Covid 19.


 A tidal wave of death from COVID-19 overwhelmed the country in the spring of 2021. Here multiple funeral pyres in New Delhi, April 2021.    Photo: AP

As of December 16, 2021, there were over 5,356,000 recorded deaths from COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. The actual death toll is far higher. The virus is inflicting enormous, unnecessary suffering on humanity. And as the year ends, a new variant of the virus, Omicron, is causing yet another surge of death, illness, and overwhelming health-care workers across the planet.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a natural disaster—but the horrific scope and intensity of suffering and death brought on by the pandemic is completely bound up with and shaped by the nature and workings of the system of capitalism-imperialism, with its chasms of inequality between spectacular wealth and power possessed by a handful and bitter impoverishment and suffering for billions.

Hoarding Vaccines, Preventing Their Manufacture

It is in the interest of all humanity to have as many people as possible, everywhere around the world, vaccinated, to keep the contagion from spreading and even more dangerous new virus variants from developing. But wealthier countries like the U.S. have hoarded vaccine supplies and not delivered doses they had pledged to send to poorer countries. A direct result, vaccination rates are fairly high in wealthy countries. But in the East African country of Sudan, the rate is 1.4%; in Haiti, 0.6%; and in Burundi, a landlocked country in southern Africa, less than one-tenth of one percent of the people is fully vaccinated! Today, billions of people remain unvaccinated, increasing the likelihood of still more variants of the deadly virus to develop.

In 2020, India and South Africa proposed a “waiver” on international pacts that hinder countries like theirs from manufacturing vaccines. The U.S. and other powerful and rich nations, and pharmaceutical companies based in them, have opposed and prevented the waivers, in the name of “protecting intellectual property,” and because of contention with imperialist rivals Russia and China.

Snapshots of Massive Suffering Worldwide

People in India line up to register to receive Covid 19 vaccine.


People wait to register for vaccine against the coronavirus in Hyderabad, India, October 21, 2021.    Photo: AP

  • India – A tidal wave of death from COVID-19 overwhelmed the country in the spring of 2021. Medical resources were swamped. Hundreds of decomposing corpses clogged the Ganges River, and more were half-buried in the sands along its banks. Wild dogs and crows devoured the remains of decomposed bodies. As of late December, the official COVID-19 death toll in India was 476,478—but multiple studies by medical researchers indicate that the number of deaths from COVID-19 “range from three to 10 times the country’s official count.
People wait for oxygen refill in holding stadium, Lima, Peru


The pandemic is causing tremendous suffering to people in Peru. Here people sit by their empty oxygen cylinders, waiting for a refill shop to open in Lima, February 2021.    Photo: AP

  • Peru – Chota, a town of about 40,000 people in the rural north of Peru, is “close to collapse under the weight of COVID-19 ... (the town) is grappling with raging infections, sharpened by a lack of intensive care unit beds and medical resources.” Peru has the highest official death rate from COVID-19 in the world. The mother of a hospitalized man told a reporter, “The doctors keep telling us that we need a ventilator, but there are no ventilators available in Chota, and that is really worrying us. There is no solution for us.”
South Africa people wait for vaccine


At a hospital in South Africa, people wait to get vaccinated, December 1, 2021.    Photo: AP

  • South Africa – At Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, designated as the main COVID-19 hospital for Eastern Cape Province, doctors and nurses “described scenes like a ‘war situation’ with blood and waste on the floors, a lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), oxygen shortages, a severe shortage of ambulances, no ventilation and patients sleeping ‘under newspaper.’ Rats have also been spotted feeding on dark red hospital waste pouring into an open drain.”

In the USA—Injustices, Ignorance, and Individualism

COVID-19 has intensified longstanding injustices within the U.S. COVID-caused deaths in the U.S. have disproportionately impacted Black and other oppressed people—the death rate among Black people is significantly higher than it is for whites.

More than 800,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. so far—about 200,000 of them after vaccines became available. As of December 16, only 62.1% of U.S. adults were fully vaccinated, although vaccines are readily available. Two major factors are driving the deadly lag in vaccinations: One, Christian fascists, leading Republicans, and ignorant mobs have been mobilizing hateful, deceitful, and sometimes violent opposition to the vaccine and other public health measures. Two, there is the effect of what Bob Avakian (BA) calls out as the “combination of crazy conspiracy theories, other anti-scientific garbage, and rampant individualism.” This includes the bullshit promoted among youth and oppressed people by the likes of Nicki “Mirage” and NBA player Kyrie Irving who are “singing the same tune as those racist, woman-hating fascists in the Republican Party and professional liars on Fox ‘News’, who’d be happy to see a lot more Black people, and other people of color, dying.”

Now, as humanity enters a third year of a mutating and raging virus, people everywhere need to read and spread a series of articles from 2021: Bob Avakian On COVID and the Importance of Getting People Vaccinated.

Cover of pamphlet with three articles from Bob Avakian on vaccines.


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