Politics with the pandemic and a vaccine

covid vaccine

Toll the current coronavirus pandemic has already claimed hasn’t desisted imperialism and its media to indulge with politics of pandemic and a vaccine – the Sputnik V. The vaccine is “criminal” as it’s Moscow-made.

The global toll, according to the Johns Hopkins University, has crossed a grim line a few days ago: More than a million – a 10-months toll in at least 188 countries. The infection-figure is more than 33 million.

“So many people have lost so many people and haven’t had the chance to say goodbye. Many people who died, died alone. It’s a terribly difficult and lonely death,” said Margaret Harris, the World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson. She described the death toll as “a very sad milestone.”

A WHO official has recently warned: The death toll may cross two million by the time vaccines are widely available.

An International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) statement from Geneva identified the situation as “one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes in recent times.” Jagan Chapagain, secretary general of the IFRC said: “A million deaths represent 1 million individual tragedies and countless heartbreaks. They represent many, many thousands of orphans, of widows, of holes in families and community fabrics that will never be filled. They also represent countless health care workers and frontline responders, including many Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff, who have lost their lives.”

In this death-march, who are the front-runners? The capitalist countries, it is. And, among these brethren, the Capitan – the Empire – is at the extreme front.

With near to 7.1 million infections and more than 200,000 deaths, the US is home to the world’s highest case and fatality numbers. India with over six million cases follows the world leader of mishandling the pandemic, and, then, goes down the rightist Bolsonaro-led Brazil with more than 142,000 deaths. France and the UK, two major capitalist economies, aren’t backbenchers. Rather, the two sit at the front with their highest-ever daily total cases.

The actual figure of the global death toll is much higher. The arguments for a higher figure are: (1) all information is not reaching the authorities; and (2) methodologies used for counting the toll. Methodologies as well as benchmarks vary from country to country. Moreover, there’s the story of hide-facts-and-have-a-happy-face.

Still, what about the toll? What about the main responsibility of the toll?

There’re ethical, moral, and above all, political responsibilities. The political leadership at global level has to take the responsibility of whatever has happened in facing the pandemic.

The question of responsibility rests more on the system than on individuals. Political leadership in countries acted in most irresponsible possible way. In countries, it acted in most indifferent possible way. It immersed in sectarian pit in countries. Political leadership in countries began politics of election with the pandemic. Political leadership in countries began mobilizing their rightist adherents, many were armed and with violent mood, to strengthen rightist politics. And, in countries, political leadership acted promptly, acted in a responsible manner, acted effectively.

These are two stories of two political approaches. One, with business interests that trades the pandemic for profit; and, the other, with people’s interests – a fight for life.

The first one committed mass murder, murder at mass level, while the other, successfully strove to save souls.

Thus, the pandemic-crisis is a political story of the 21st Century – political facts of irresponsibility and responsibility to respective electorates, respective taxpayers.

It’s story of political system. It’s a story of non-accountability and accountability to peoples in countries. The pandemic, thus, has appeared as the biggest political story in present time.

Almost immediately after the outbreak of the pandemic, the mainstream media (MSM) blamed Wuhan, a city in China, the city’s wet market. Then, the MSM-priests began blaming the political leadership in China.

The “truth”-preachers – the MSM – claimed, after their first barrage of “discoveries” regarding Wuhan and the Chinese political leadership was proved baseless, the Russian and Chinese scientists “stole” formula of a vaccine the imperialist masters were progressing with.

The “theft-story” was concocted as reports began emerging: The Russian and the Chinese scientists were making significant advances in their research for an effective vaccine to fight the virus novel in nature.

Then, the MSM marketed another story: From Moscow, with the Vaccine Untouchable. Their claim: The Moscow-made vaccine – Sputnik V – has not gone through required trials. So, according to the MSM-standard, it’s “untouchable”.

But, is the claim logical, based on facts? That’s to be seen.

A study report prepared by the developers of the Sputnik V has been published in The Lancet, a respected British journal (“Safety and immunogenicity of an rAd26 and rAd5 vector-based heterologous prime-boost COVID-19 vaccine in two formulations: two open, non-randomised phase 1/2 studies from Russia”, vol. 396, issue 10255, September 26, 2020). The study states that the Sputnik V is “is safe, well tolerated, and induces strong humoral and cellular immune responses in 100% of healthy participants. All reported adverse events were mostly mild. The most common systemic and local reactions were pain at the injection site, hyperthermia (body temperature 37–38°C), headache, asthenia, and muscle and joint pain, which are typical for vaccines based on recombinant viral vectors. No serious adverse events were reported during the study.”

Then, 5,000 Russian volunteers were administered with the vaccine, and they showed no serious side effects. The volunteers included high-risk groups including the elderly.

Now, 40,000 Moscow-citizens will be administered with the vaccine. There’s no doubt that all the volunteers will be closely monitored.

The question: How the MSM begins a propaganda blitz against a vaccine before getting final trial results? Have it started similar propaganda war against other vaccines being developed and at different trial stages in the countries it considers friendly? Now-a-days, the MSM’s credibility is always questioned by citizens aware of its past “great” work including the Iraq War and North Korean leader Kim’s “death” news.

Actually, the Covid-19 vaccine is a market of billions of dollar. Shares of a few companies investing in Covid-19 vaccine surged for some time. A few companies experienced mergers. Moves are afoot keeping in the future market. The MSM propaganda-blitz against the Sputnik V is not isolated from that market venture.

How many reports the MSM carried about Putin’s proposal related to the coronavirus pandemic? The Russian leader proposed at the UN General Assembly’s 75th session: In this Covid-period, global trade needs to be freed from illegitimate sanctions.

The story of sanction, virtually a monopoly mechanism of the Empire, is long. Cuba is the economic and financial war’s longest-ever victim. It’s followed by Venezuela. There’re other victims also. The war hurts all the victim-countries’ pandemic-fighting capability.

How many times do the MSM report this aspect? So, the proposal by Putin mostly went unreported.

The Russian leader proposed Green Corridor – areas free from sanctions and trade wars for supply of essentials including food, medicines, personal protective equipment, the items immediately required to fight the pandemic.

The pandemic is taking its toll not only in terms of deaths. There’s contraction in economies. Business closures, hunger, unemployment, lost of shelter are now regular news. Now, incidents of increasing food lines, decreasing number of food donors, and the world’s biggest-ever renters’ strike in the Empire are well known to media audience. Reports from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, International Labor Organization, among many others, voice the related facts. It’s millions and billions, human beings and money. Yet, a full account of the toll isn’t possible. Putin said the same: Experts are yet to assess fully the scale of the socio-economic shock associated with the pandemic.

But, the world-people find, as Putin mentioned in his speech, “lack of humanity”, “deficit of humanity” in this pandemic period.

On the other hand, there’s the Cuba-medical-solidarity-story: Hundreds of Cuban medical professionals reached countries to fight the pandemic. Russia sent its medical professionals and medical aid to countries including Italy, one of the worst hit countries. Putin, in his speech, mentioned this fact: Solidarity of doctors and volunteers across borders, disinterestedly helped each other.

But, these stories of solidarity in fighting the pandemic are least reported by the MSM. It’s part of the politics with the pandemic at the global level.

The pandemic demands meaningful and effective actions from the humanity. It’s, as the IFRC leader said, not a quick-fix job. Do the MSM and its masters pay heed to this fact?

Therefore, the Putin-proposal goes unheard, the media-blitz against the Sputnik V, the Cuba-Venezuela-sanctions’ cruel character goes unreported, the political responsibility of the mass murder in countries goes unidentified; and these actions are taken as part of the mainstream politics at global level.

Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.



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