Opioid deaths in America reached new highs in the pandemic

Fatal overdoses were marching upwards before the pandemic. But they leapt in the first part of last year as states locked down, according to provisional data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths from synthetic opioids—the biggest killer—were up by 52% year-on-year in the 12 months to August, the last month for which data are available. Those drugs killed nearly 52,000 Americans during the period; cocaine and heroin killed about 16,000 and 14,000, respectively (see chart). Once fatalities are fully tallied for 2020, in a few months’ time, it is likely to be the deadliest year yet in America’s opioid epidemic.

— source economist.com | Mar 30 2021

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A Black doctor died of Covid-19 weeks after accusing hospital staff of racist treatment

A Black physician died of Covid-19 weeks after she described a White doctor dismissing her pain and concerns about her treatment as she lay in an Indiana hospital. Dr. Susan Moore passed away on Sunday due to complications from Covid-19. The internist died about two weeks after she shared a video in which she accused a doctor at Indiana University Health North Hospital (IU North) of ignoring her complaints of pain and requests for medication because she was Black, even though she was both a patient and a doctor herself.

And despite her pain, the doctor told Moore he might send her home, she said, and he didn’t feel comfortable giving her more narcotics. “He made me feel like I was a drug addict,” she said in the video. “And he knew I was a physician.”

“You have to show proof that you have something wrong with you in order for you to get the medicine,” she said in the video. “This is how Black people get killed,” Moore said in the video, “when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves.”

Dr. Moore died last Sunday, just over two weeks after she posted the video.


— source edition.cnn.com | Dec 25, 2020

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One in five deaths worldwide linked to fossil fuels in 2018

For a while, we have known that the linkage between air pollution and the burning of fossil fuels was bad, but not this bad, says a new study in Environment Research. The paper reveals that air pollution linked to fossil fuels is killing twice as many people as previously thought. It concludes that in 2018, pollution linked to the burning of fossil fuels killed nearly nine million people that year. In perspective that’s one in five people who died globally in 2018. The academics looked at small particulates – known as PM2.5s – which are emitted when fossil fuels are burnt in cars or power stations and that are so small they can get stuck deep inside your lungs. PM2.5s are lethal: They have been labelled toxic killers too small for you to see.

— source priceofoil.org | Feb 9, 2021

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40% of U.S. COVID Deaths Were Preventable

As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 approaches half a million, a new report says nearly 40% of the deaths were avoidable. By comparing the pandemic in the U.S. to other high-income nations, the medical journal The Lancet found significant gaps in former President Donald Trump’s “inept and insufficient” response to COVID-19, as well as decades of destructive public policy decisions. One of the report’s recommendations is reforming the system to a single-payer model like Medicare for All, which President Joe Biden has so far rejected in favor of bolstering the Affordable Care Act. “The Affordable Care Act still left millions of people — 29 million people — without healthcare insurance coverage,” says Dr. Mary Bassett, one of the authors of The Lancet report. “Single payer would address that.”

As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 approaches half a million, a new report says nearly 40% of those deaths were avoidable. The medical journal The Lancet came to this conclusion by comparing the pandemic in the United States with other high-income G7 nations, like Britain, France and Canada. The findings are included in a report by the Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era that faults Trump’s, quote, “inept and insufficient” response to COVID-19, as well as decades of destructive public policy decisions.

One of the report’s recommendations is a single-payer reform, like Medicare for All, that would, quote, “cover all residents under a single, federally financed plan providing comprehensive coverage,” unquote. President Biden has so far rejected Medicare for All, saying instead he wants to bolster the Affordable Care Act with more subsidies. House Democrats proposed a bill last week that would boost subsidies for people who buy plans through the marketplace, and Biden has already signed an executive order to reopen enrollment on HealthCare.gov starting today, February 15th, through May 15th.

— source democracynow.org | Feb 15, 2021

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Billionaires Added $1.3 Trillion to Their Fortunes During Pandemic while 500,000 Americans dead

According to the new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), America’s 664 billionaires now have a combined net worth of $4.2 trillion—a figure that stands in staggering contrast to the economic pain being felt by countless families across the U.S. as joblessness, uninsurance, and hunger remain sky-high.

The U.S., which has the highest coronavirus death toll in the world, reached 500,000 lives lost to Covid-19 on Monday. “About one in 670 Americans has died of Covid-19, which has become a leading cause of death in the country, along with heart disease and cancer, and has driven down life expectancy more sharply than in decades,” the New York Times noted.

— source commondreams.org | Feb 24, 2021

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800,000 COVID-19 deaths in Europe

Yesterday, the official death toll from the coronavirus pandemic across Europe surpassed 800,000. Death on this scale is so massive a blow to society that it is difficult to comprehend. One in 529 people has died of COVID-19 in Belgium, one in 545 in the Czech Republic, one in 558 in Britain, one in 625 in Italy, one in 630 in Portugal, and one in 646 in Bosnia. As deaths surge and births collapse, life expectancy has fallen in Western Europe for the first time since World War II: 1.5 years in Italy, one year in Spain and Britain, and half a year in Sweden and France.

— source wsws.org | 25 Feb 2021

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Pandemic deaths are “social murder”

On February 4, the BMJ (formerly, British Medical Journal) published an editorial accusing the world’s governments of “social murder” in their collective response to the pandemic. The response to this devastating statement by the media and politicians of all stripes in Britain was to ignore and conceal it. The editorial, “Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant”, was written by Kamran Abbasi, the executive editor of the journal.

The BMJ editorial: “Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant”

— source wsws.org | 23 Feb 2021

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Cutting carbon emissions sooner could save 153 million lives

As many as 153 million premature deaths linked to air pollution could be avoided worldwide this century if governments speed up their timetable for reducing fossil fuel emissions, a new Duke University-led study finds. The study is the first to project the number of lives that could be saved, city by city, in 154 of the world’s largest urban areas if nations agree to reduce carbon emissions and limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C in the near future rather than postponing the biggest emissions cuts until later, as some governments have proposed. Kolkata and Delhi, India, lead the list of cities benefitting from accelerated emissions cuts with up to 4.4 million projected saved lives and up to 4 million projected saved lives, respectively.

— source Duke University | Mar 19, 2018

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Climate-Fueled Disasters Killed 475,000 People

Nearly a half-million people, mostly from the world’s poorest countries, died over the past two decades from conditions associated with climate disasters, according to new findings from the nonprofit Germanwatch. In its annual “Global Climate Risk Index” report released this week, Germanwatch identified Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, as suffering the greatest impacts from such disasters from 2000 to 2019. Rounding out the top 10 for climate disasters between 2000 and 2019 were the Philippines, Mozambique, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand and Nepal. Total losses from countries analyzed were estimated at $2.5 trillion. For the first time, the index does not include the United States beyond Puerto Rico because the underlying database lacked information about the U.S., the authors said.

— source scientificamerican.com | Jan 27, 2021

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US deaths from COVID-19 lead to a more than one-year decline in life expectancy

According to an analysis conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) and Princeton University, deaths caused by COVID-19 have reduced the overall life expectancy in the United States by 1.13 years. In epidemiologic terms, this is an enormous decline. Life expectancy is one of the most accurate barometers of the health of a society. Since 1860, when life expectancy stood at a stark 39.4 years, predominately due to high infant and maternal mortality, medical advancements and improvements in living standards have seen it climb steadily over the intervening decades to 78.9 years by 2020. Deaths from the COVID pandemic have now further reduced life expectancy to 77.48 years.

— source wsws.org | 17 Jan 2021

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