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The People’s War – Episode 6: The politics of medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic

The vastly disproportionate death rate of African people in the U.S. from COVID-19 is attributed to so-called “pre-existing health conditions”. These conditions are imposed on the African community because we can’t afford the profit-driven healthcare, have limited access to healthy food, and are forced to live in poor, high density housing, among other symptoms of a population dominated by an hostile U.S. government.

The U.S. has been condemned throughout the world for its inability to respond effectively or humanely to the pandemic. While the U.S. currently has more than one quarter of the world’s COVID-19 deaths, the government has done very little to provide meaningful resources to the vast majority of people.

Other countries like China, Venezuela and Cuba have led the way in responding to the coronavirus. They’ve identified potential cures, implemented rapid stay-at-home policies, provided free rent (along with already-free healthcare) and have dispatched doctors throughout the world to treat infected populations.

The U.S. has responded by cutting off funding to the European-based, World Health Organization for its praise of China’s response to the global pandemic. The U.S. has also responded to Cuba by continuing strict sanctions intended to starve the socialist-run island into submitting to a capitalist-dominated economy, and has even blocked the flow of personal protective equipment to the island.

This week we talk with Lisa Davis, member of the People’s Organization for Progress, vice-chair of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations (BIBC) and chair of the BIBC’s Healthcare Working Group. She was co-signer to a recent letter to the FDA head demanding expedited approval of a Cuban-developed COVID-19 drug treatment, Interferon Alpha 2B. Based in New Jersey, she is an outspoken critic of the lack of hospitals and denial of healthcare in the black community. She is a researcher and advocate of nutritional and traditional African approaches to health and well-being.

“I believe that the reason black people have such horrible statistics when it comes to being able to survive COVID-19 in these hospitals is because we are in the hospitals of a system that was set up by the colonizers. Just as the police can look at us and say “they look like a criminal” and kill us, the medical profession has the same ability to do that”, says Davis.

Hosted by Ticharwa Masimba and Matop Nyungu, the weekly People’s War Radio Show features guests covering all aspects of the current crisis – providing health and medical tips and resources, economic survival information, analysis of the political and international impact, how to prepare for the future and organize for African community self-determination.

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