The Covid-19, which was first detected in late 2019 and declared as a worldwide pandemic in March 2020, has been going on for almost two years. During this period, 271 million people were infected, and more than 5 million people died due to Covid-19. The vast majority of deaths have been in the United States, which has the most market-oriented healthcare system in the world; however, “developed” European countries with big economies also lead the ranking of deaths.
CAPITALISM BEARS THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LOSSES
The biggest responsibility for the persistence of this public health problem lies in the capitalist system prioritizing the profits of monopolies to the detriment of human health. Adequate measures have not been taken from the beginning; safety of workplaces, public transportation, and public areas have not been achieved, and effective surveillance of those who have caught the virus has not been carried out. Large working masses were left between the dire choice of not working and starving or catching the virus. The commercialized healthcare system means that everything, from test kits to drug treatments and intensive care services, is a commodity bought and sold at high prices. While companies and private hospitals producing such vital materials are getting richer as the pandemic continues, millions of workers and other poor popular strata cannot receive screening, diagnosis, and treatment services.
ALL RESEARCH, PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND SUPPLY OF VACCINES AND MEDICINES MUST BE IMPLEMENTED AND CONTROLLED BY THE PUBLIC SECTOR
Although effective vaccines against the virus were developed at the end of last year, vaccination rates could not match the degrees to immunize the majority of the people in many countries. That is because drug and vaccine research is in the hands of monopolies which use public resources and make huge profits from their products. Vaccine production, distribution, and supply are left totally to the initiative of monopolies and the competition between them.The abolition of the patent for vaccines against Covid is required, something that is opposed by the EU, many states and monopolies. This would facilitate faster vaccination in countries where vaccination rates are very low. The thesis that argues "companies must lead drug and vaccine research in order to make progress" is entirely wrong and it is a lie. The most concrete proof of this is the success of Cuba's socialized health system against the pandemic. Despite the criminal US blockade and great economic difficulties, Cuba has managed to control the pandemic with its planned and scientific approach and has vaccinated more than eighty percent of its people with the vaccines developed by Cuban researchers.
POLITICAL RIGHTS ARE ARBITRARILY USURPED
Capitalist states have also used the pandemic as an excuse to restrict all kinds of political rights and freedoms of the people and prevent workers from organizing. While the necessary measures were not taken for the pandemic in practice, states of emergencies were created arbitrarily with the prohibitions against the right to assembly and demonstration. This situation is not only politically unacceptable but also invites new and irreparable health problems.
BURN OUT OF HEALTH WORKERS MUST BE COMPENSATED
Another dimension of the damage done by the mismanagement of the pandemic is related to the health workers, who are left with inadequate equipment, long and tiring shifts, and insufficient times to rest. Currently, it is stated that only two out of every five health workers worldwide are fully vaccinated, while more than a hundred thousand health workers lost their lives. Health workers in many countries have carried out strikes and protests against occupational burnout and labor exploitation. We salute their righteous struggle.
The workers through their struggle demand a staged public and free health system; against commercialization, the closure of public hospitals, and the support of healthcare business groups. All private health institutions should be requisitioned; a sufficient number of facilities, intensive care units and primary health centers should be established; and equipment deficiencies should be eliminated. Tests, masks, vaccines should be distributed widely and free of charge. The demands of the healthcare workers must be met, work intensification must stop.
WE WILL FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHT TO HEALTH
As member parties of the European Communist Initiative, we struggle for the protection of peoples’ life and health, to assemble forces with the prospect of a different organization of the economy and the society, i.e. socialism, which will be exclusively determined by the contemporary people’s needs, getting rid of business groups and capitalist profit.