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Coronavirus and America’s urgent need for universal healthcare

The pandemic suggests that Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest will no longer hold true; it will become survival of the richest. The virus is now one of the strongest arguments for Medicare for All, says Ahmed Twaij

Monday 16 March 2020 21:06 GMT
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A Seattle bus is sprayed with disinfectant in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 in Washington state
A Seattle bus is sprayed with disinfectant in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 in Washington state (EPA)

With the rapid global spread of coronavirus causing more than 170,000 infections as well as the collapse of economies around the world, its effective containment is becoming more important. President Donald Trump’s plan for the management of the disease, officially named Covid-19, is typical of a for-profit private healthcare system. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the reasons why universal healthcare coverage is vital, and the disease has become one of the strongest arguments for Medicare for All.

Fears linked to coronavirus – or “caronvirus”, as an ill-prepared Trump called it – have caused New York’s S&P 500 and London’s FTSE 100 to record their biggest daily losses since 1987’s Black Monday. The collapsing US economy, which the president had previously incorrectly boasted as being “the best it has ever been”, forced Trump to announce a plan to tackle the virus, nearly two months after the World Health Organisation declared it a global emergency.

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, the fundamental rights penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, are seven crucial words held dear by all Americans. These inalienable rights, however, are denied to millions of Americans who do not have access to basic healthcare, and with growing concerns over coronavirus, these principles are even more at risk.

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