As Global Pandemic Worsens, U.S. Keeps Blocking Vaccine Patent Waivers Amid Big Pharma Lobbying

Big Pharma has hired an army of lobbyists to pressure U.S. lawmakers to block an effort at the World Trade Organization to loosen intellectual property rules on COVID-19 vaccines, which would allow countries around the world to ramp up production, vaccinate more people and bring the pandemic to an end sooner. Dozens of countries from the Global South, led by India and South Africa, are demanding a temporary waiver on vaccine patents, but rich countries, including the U.S. under both the Trump and Biden administrations, have opposed the move. Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept, says there is a “glut” of vaccines going to wealthy countries while…

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The DWP failed half a million people during the pandemic

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is under the spotlight again. This is because new research shows tens of thousands of people did not claim Universal Credit because they thought they’d look like ‘scroungers’. This was during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The results also show people thought it was ‘too much hassle’ to claim. Overall, around half a million people missed out. And it shows the DWP’s abject failure with Universal Credit. DWP at a distance Welfare at a (Social) Distance is a research project that’s looked into social security during the early part of the pandemic. As The Canary previously reported, the project’s previous research was…

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How Cuba Beat the Pandemic: From Developing New Vaccines to Sending Doctors Overseas to Help Others

Since last year, approximately 440 Cubans have died from COVID-19, giving Cuba one of the lowest death rates per capita in the world. Cuba is also developing five COVID-19 vaccines, including two which have entered stage 3 trials. Cuba has heavily invested in its medical and pharmaceutical system for decades, in part because of the six-decade U.S. embargo that has made it harder for Cuba to import equipment and raw materials from other countries. That investment, coupled with the country’s free, universal healthcare system, has helped Cuba keep the virus under control and quickly develop vaccines against it, says Dr. Rolando Pérez Rodríguez, the director of science and…

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Pandemic Profiteers: Hospitals Sued Patients over Medical Debt While Getting Billions in Relief Aid

We look at pandemic profiteering in the medical system as a new report by Kaiser Health News reveals some of the nation’s richest hospitals recorded hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus over the past year after accepting federal healthcare bailout grants. This comes as hospitals in New York have sued thousands of patients during the pandemic, and Northwell — which is run by a close ally of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — has faced intense criticism for practices like billing patients at its Lenox Hill Hospital over $3,000 for COVID tests — more than 30 times the typical cost. “There’s a lot of talk in our…

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New York’s “Excluded Workers” Demand First U.S. Fund to Secure Pandemic Aid for Undocumented People

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: More than a year into the pandemic and the economic crisis it generated, many workers continue to be excluded from receiving any government relief. These excluded workers include undocumented people, many of them in essential services, and people recently released from prison. Well, on Monday in New York, hundreds of excluded workers from across the state marched to the Capitol of Albany in a final push to demand lawmakers support a $3.5 billion fund that would be the first of its kind in the United States to provide financial relief and healthcare to those…

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Pandemic Profiteers: How U.S. Billionaires Like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Saw Wealth Grow by $1.3 Trillion

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: Well, it’s been a year of pain for so many, and massive gains for a select few billionaires. We begin today’s show looking at a new report that names the biggest pandemic profiteers over the past year. As unemployment surged at the start of the lockdowns, the Institute for Policy Studies began working with Americans for Tax Fairness to track the wealth growth of U.S. billionaires. They’ve just published their findings that show the combined wealth of the 657 billionaires in the country grew more than $1.3 trillion, nearly 45%, since the pandemic began.…

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Jackson Mayor Demands Help After Month-Long Water Crisis Amid Pandemic, Racism, Broken Infrastructure

Residents in Jackson, Mississippi, have been facing a water crisis over the last five weeks, with many people lacking reliable access to clean drinking water after deadly February winter storms caused pipes and water mains to burst. While water delivery has largely been restored, “boil water” orders remain in effect for most people. The city estimates it could cost $2 billion to fix the city’s water system. The crisis in Jackson, which is 82% Black, highlights how climate catastrophe threatens much of the nation’s aging infrastructure. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says while the city “contributes millions of dollars” in tax revenue to Mississippi each year, state leaders have…

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Texas Gov. Lifts Pandemic Restrictions, Defying Public Health Experts, and Blames Migrants for COVID

Texas is the largest state to lift its mandate on face masks and fully reopen businesses, joining a growing movement in states governed by Republicans to ease pandemic restrictions even as experts warn it is too soon to do so, despite the accelerating pace of vaccinations in the United States. “This is completely politically motivated,” says Dr. Dona Murphey, a physician scientist and community organizer in Houston who is helping to lead a campaign demanding Texas reinstate the mask mandate. She says Republican Governor Greg Abbott is ending the state’s pandemic restrictions as “a maneuver to conceal failures” related to the Texas electrical grid, which went down during…

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The pandemic must not be used to force women’s rights back to the 1970s

On International Women’s Day, there’s lots to celebrate in terms of the movements for gender equality around the world. There’s been great progress in some places during the pandemic: Argentina’s abortion legalisation signified a huge victory for reproductive rights; Donald Trump was voted out of office; a transgender woman achieved a landmark victory for transgender rights in the US. However, there has been a more sinister effect of coronavirus (Covid-19) for women. Increasingly, reports are finding that women are taking on the majority of childcare and home schooling, and have also been more likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic. This has led to fears that the…

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Millions Mark International Women’s Day as Pandemic Deepens Inequality, Violence Around the World

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: Millions of women around the world are taking to the streets today to mark this International Women’s Day — in a year where women have been disproportionately impacted by rising poverty, unemployment and violence during the pandemic. In the Philippines, hundreds of women led a rally outside the presidential palace in Manila, chanting “Stop killing us.” Protesters are demanding the resignation of President Duterte. This is an advocate with the women’s rights group Gabriela. JOMS SALVADOR: We would like to underline the fact that we are in a deeper crisis and we are facing…

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