Epidemics and Disease

New US unemployment claims hit 3.28 million as pandemic produces economic catastrophe

By Shannon Jones, 27 March 2020

The number of new weekly claims for state unemployment benefits reached the staggering total of 3.28 million, an increase of 1,000 percent over the previous week, and the largest such total in history.

Australia’s imprisoned refugees plead for release as coronavirus risk increases

By Max Newman, 27 March 2020

Detainees have protested at being held “in a potential death trap in which we have no option or means to protect ourselves.”

How many must die for Wall Street?

By Andre Damon, 26 March 2020

Amid growing evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading through American workplaces, powerful representatives of finance capital are demanding that the country be “open for business.”

“They don’t care about our health”

Strikes, protests spread as US workers demand protection from COVID-19

By Jerry White, 26 March 2020

Even as Trump rushes to resume full production, tens of thousands of workers in the US and around the world are refusing to die for the sake of corporate profits.

US Senate passes massive economic “rescue” bill

By Patrick Martin, 26 March 2020

The $2 trillion bill allocates the bulk of its funds to loans and grants to corporations and businesses, with some emergency aid to workers.

Strikes mount across Europe against official response to coronavirus pandemic

By Allison Smith and Alex Lantier, 26 March 2020

There is growing mistrust and social anger among workers against governments, trade unions and financial markets trying to force them back to work amid the pandemic.

Governor Cuomo pleads for assistance as New York state plunges into an unprecedented health crisis

By Benjamin Mateus, 26 March 2020

The governor is asking for more ventilators and beds, as New York faces a near collapse of its healthcare infrastructure.

Nashville, Tennessee mayor issues business-friendly “safer at home” order in face of coronavirus pandemic

By Warren Duzak, 26 March 2020

The state’s Governor Bill Lee also suggested that workers and their families seek solace in prayer during the growing public health disaster.

First immigrant in ICE custody tests positive for coronavirus in New Jersey

By Erik Schreiber, 26 March 2020

This development highlights the criminal lack of basic sanitation that the Trump administration maintains in immigrant detention centers, as well as the ruling class’ callous disregard for public health.

Johnson’s “herd immunity” strategy and the London Conference on Intelligence whitewash: Britain’s ruling class and eugenics

By Thomas Scripps, 26 March 2020

Innumerable posts on social media have drawn the connection between the reactionary ideology of eugenics and the British government’s criminally delayed and negligent response to the pandemic.

German investor Dibelius: Big business must take priority over health care

By Peter Schwarz, 26 March 2020

It will only be a matter of days before Dibelius and his ilk will demand that workers who refuse to risk their health by going back to work should be forced to do so.

Africa records over 2,400 cases of COVID-19

By Stephan McCoy, 26 March 2020

An international and coordinated struggle against the spread of coronavirus on the African continent is an urgent necessity.

After downplaying COVID-19 pandemic, Japan forced to postpone Olympics

By Emiri Ochiai, 26 March 2020

Facing a growing public outcry over his indifference to public health, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the Olympics had been moved to the summer of 2021.

Leaked government report warns of tens of thousands of deaths in one Canadian province

By Roger Jordan, 26 March 2020

An internal Saskatchewan Health Authority report has warned that the rapid spread of the coronavirus would overwhelm the province’s health care system and result in 9,000 to 15,000 people dying due to COVID-19.

Warnings that hundreds of thousands of Indonesians may already have COVID-19

By Owen Howell and Oscar Grenfell, 26 March 2020

There are fears that the archipelago may become “the Italy of south-east Asia,” with experts warning that 135 million may be infected by mid-May.

Australia unprepared for surge as coronavirus infections, fatalities mount

By Oscar Grenfell, 26 March 2020

Even before a dramatic spike in hospitalisations, there are shortages of protective masks and other essential equipment.

Peru deploys army in the streets to enforce COVID-19 curfew

By Cesar Uco and Don Knowland, 26 March 2020

The quarantine and curfew imposed by President Vizcarra are aimed at protecting the interests of the wealthy and preparing the repression of a likely social explosion.

Detroit-area hospitals reach capacity as coronavirus infections in Michigan surge past 2,000

By Kevin Reed, 25 March 2020

The escalating number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan are concentrated in the tri-county area around and especially within the city of Detroit.

Coronavirus kills more than 2,600 across Europe in one weekend

By Alex Lantier, 23 March 2020

Though large parts of Europe with hundreds of millions of inhabitants are under lockdown, the contagion is still spreading relentlessly across the continent.

Coronavirus total in US skyrockets as testing expands

By Bryan Dyne, 23 March 2020

The United States now leads the world in new cases and is second only to China and Italy in the number of patients infected with COVID-19.

Coronavirus crisis in New York: As doctors warn of “our Chernobyl,” state government plans Medicaid cuts

By Clara Weiss and Ali Elhassan, 23 March 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been calling for the deployment of the military, warned on Sunday that between 40 and 80 percent of the population of New York state (roughly 19.5 million people) would be infected.

Chinese worker writes on the coronavirus pandemic: “Disaffection is growing among the masses”

By a correspondent, 23 March 2020

“The working class has made huge sacrifices in the fight against the epidemic. The epidemic has increased the pressure on their lives, and made workers want a more resolute voice for labour rights.”

German government prepares for internet censorship and deployment of the armed forces

By Ulrich Rippert, 23 March 2020

The social democratic state premier of Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius, has called for a clamp-down against those contradicting official government propaganda about the coronavirus epidemic.

Africa threatened by sudden surge in coronavirus cases

By Kumaran Ira, 23 March 2020

The entire continent risks becoming infected with coronavirus, which could rapidly swamp its inadequate health systems, leading to a horrific death toll.

South Africa’s ANC government suppressed report showing thousands could die from COVID-19

By Stephan McCoy, 23 March 2020

The Ramaphosa government’s response to the pandemic has been exactly what the study warned against—slow and virtually nonexistent.

United Parcel Service forcing employees to work without protection amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Nick Barrickman, 23 March 2020

“There has been no serious talk about this disease” at UPS, a warehouse worker in Baltimore, Maryland, told the World Socialist Web Site.

Retail and service industry workers demand safety measures, store closures and full compensation during coronavirus pandemic

By Trévon Austin, 23 March 2020

Retail and service workers, particularly in grocery stores and coffee shops, are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 as they interact with hundreds of customers on a daily basis.

COVID-19 outbreak in New York prisons threatens lives of thousands

By Sam Dalton, 23 March 2020

Thirty-eight people in the New York prison system test positive for COVID-19 as reports emerge that Harvey Weinstein has also been infected by the virus.

UK: Sheffield health care students demand placements suspended to limit COVID-19 spread

By Julie Hyland, 23 March 2020

The students’ petition to university bosses highlights the widespread opposition to the disastrous course of the Johnson government, which has already forced a shift in its reckless policy of allowing the spread of COVID-19.

Catastrophic worldwide medical ventilator shortfall despite years of warning

By Steve James, 23 March 2020

World productive capacity of medical ventilators is far below peak requirements during the coronavirus outbreak.

Canada registers 500,000 Employment Insurance claims in one week, as Coronavirus triggers jobs massacre

By Roger Jordan, 23 March 2020

Last week’s EI claims far surpassed the total number of jobs lost in the eight months immediately following the eruption of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Russian cases of coronavirus surge as economic crisis hits

By Clara Weiss, 23 March 2020

The Russian oligarchy is promoting nationalism and xenophobia and pushing for greater surveillance and dictatorial measures, as social tensions are set to escalate over the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic.

Australian state of Victoria shuts down school system, other states remain open

By Patrick Kelly, 23 March 2020

The chaotic situation reflects the wider disarray and criminal neglect in the ruling elite’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

COVID-19 health disaster and political crisis intensify in Australia

By Mike Head, 23 March 2020

Yesterday the soaring rate of infections triggered an open rift in the self-styled “national cabinet” and forced governments into partial economic shutdowns.

No corporate bailouts! Direct financial resources to the working people, not the capitalist elite!

By Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (US), 23 March 2020

The ruling class is seeking to exploit this crisis to engineer another multitrillion-dollar redistribution of wealth, on a scale even greater than the 2008 bank bailout.

Entertainment industry in North America devastated by layoffs

By Penny Smith, 23 March 2020

The entertainment industry across the US and Canada has effectively shut down, leaving hundreds of thousands of already precariously employed workers suddenly without an income.

US imperialism exploits coronavirus as a weapon of war

By Bill Van Auken, 20 March 2020

The maintenance and tightening of punishing economic sanctions against Iran as it confronts one of the world’s worst outbreaks of the coronavirus constitutes a US war crime.

Italian army drafted to transport corpses as coronavirus deaths surge in Europe

By Alex Lantier, 20 March 2020

Health systems in Italy, the European epicenter of the disease, are so overwhelmed that they cannot process the corpses of the dead, let alone tend to the sick.

Facing mask shortage, US doctors told to use bandanas

By Benjamin Mateus, 20 March 2020

The CDC recommends that when facemasks are no longer available, health care workers may have to improvise, using scarves or bandanas to protect themselves when treating patients suspected of or confirmed with COVID-19.

California governor orders statewide lockdown as US coronavirus deaths top 200

By Patrick Martin, 20 March 2020

The number of Americans with coronavirus is nearing 15,000, and more than 200 have died.

UK: Johnson government uses coronavirus crisis to seize dictatorial powers

By Robert Stevens, 20 March 2020

Britain’s ruling elite is using the enormous danger to public health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to implement a raft of anti-democratic measures they have long planned to impose.

Retired UK welfare advice worker Terry Craven: “If they are going to build a herd immunity, they already know it’s going to kill thousands of people”

By our reporters, 20 March 2020

Retired welfare advice worker Terry Craven contacted the WSWS to express his concerns about the lack of provision for people in the UK on social security benefits showing symptoms of Covid-19.

National interests stand in the way of a coronavirus vaccine

By Peter Schwarz, 20 March 2020

The dispute over the German biotech company CureVac shows how national and profit interests hinder the rapid development of a vaccine against COVID-19.

New York City now the epicenter of coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Josh Varlin, 20 March 2020

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering a “shelter in place” order in response to the skyrocketing COVID-19 case numbers.

Drivers shut down Detroit bus system with sick-out over health and safety concerns during coronavirus outbreak

By Kevin Reed, 20 March 2020

Bus drivers took matters into their own hands in Detroit on Tuesday morning and shut down the city’s public transportation system to demand sanitary conditions.

Qantas spearheads mass layoffs in Australia as pandemic worsens

By Mike Head, 20 March 2020

The federal and state governments are handing billions of dollars to the banks and corporate elite as they unleash massive job losses.

Media blackout of wildcat strikes in US auto industry

By Tom Hall, 20 March 2020

Within hours after wildcat strikes in Fiat Chrysler plants in Michigan and Ohio forced a temporary shutdown of much of the North American auto industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the corporate media entered into full cover-up mode.

German Chancellor Merkel’s address to the nation: A declaration of criminal irresponsibility

By Johannes Stern, 20 March 2020

The central message delivered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her address to the nation Wednesday evening was that the federal government will do nothing to avert a catastrophe for the population.

US autoworkers take matters into their own hands

Auto plants shut down throughout North America in response to wave of wildcats over coronavirus

By Tom Hall, 19 March 2020

Thousands of autoworkers throughout the US Midwest downed their tools Wednesday morning, the latest in a worldwide wave of wildcat strikes against the continuation of non-essential production during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As world toll from COVID-19 pandemic passes 200,000, American hospitals at risk of being overrun

By Bryan Dyne and Patrick Martin, 19 March 2020

A new analysis from Harvard University shows that cities across America will need up to nine times as many hospital beds as they currently have to treat victims of local coronavirus outbreaks.

Markets plunge again in rush to cash

By Nick Beams, 19 March 2020

Measures taken by central banks have failed to quell the market turmoil with calls for even greater quantitative easing.

Front-line nurses and doctors face dire shortages of personal protective equipment

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 March 2020

There are mounting fears among health care workers that they are running unacceptable risks because of the lack of equipment.

Life for immigrants in the US during COVID-19 pandemic

ICE raids continue, asylum seekers turned away, and detention facilities remain potential hotbeds for coronavirus

By Genevieve Leigh, 19 March 2020

“We do not have access to hand sanitizer or masks, or anything else that could protect as we are all stuck together in close quarters.”

Washington imposes new sanctions as Iran’s COVID-19 death toll tops 1,000

By Bill Van Auken, 19 March 2020

The global pandemic is viewed by US imperialism as a weapon in its war for hegemony in the Middle East.

Working class in China bears brunt of Beijing’s COVID-19 response

By Ben McGrath, 19 March 2020

The police state measures used by Beijing to curtail the COVID-19 outbreak make clear the necessity for the working class to take control of the response of the pandemic.

As coronavirus pandemic grows, anger rises against German companies

By Marianne Arens, 19 March 2020

While the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced that the health risk posed by COVID-19 is “high”, VW announced its production lines would operate until Friday.

Hungarian government uses coronavirus epidemic to promote racism

By Markus Salzmann, 19 March 2020

As throughout Europe, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Hungary.

Ukrainian government uses coronavirus crisis to pass IMF-backed reforms

By Jason Melanovski, 19 March 2020

Ukraine’s ruling class is exploiting the devastating pandemic to escalate its attacks on the working class.

Australian doctors condemn government response to COVID-19 “disaster”

By Mike Head, 19 March 2020

Letters, signed by thousands of doctors, warn that a catastrophe “worse” than Italy’s can only be averted by a lockdown and the urgent pouring of resources into hospitals.

Pacific Islands nations threatened with disaster by coronavirus

By John Braddock, 19 March 2020

The recent measles outbreak in Samoa underscores that COVID-19 could be catastrophic for the indigenous populations of the Pacific.

Hospitals lack water, power, masks

IMF denies loan to Venezuela as it braces for COVID-19

By Andrea Lobo, 19 March 2020

The loan request is only the latest appeal by the Maduro government for foreign finance and signal to world finance capital that it will defend profit interests.

Reject capitalist xenophobia! For international socialist solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic!

By Andre Damon and David North, 19 March 2020

Seeking to draw attention from their own disastrous response to the pandemic, governments are attempting to direct the population’s fears into xenophobia and national hatreds.

“Amazon puts us at risk:” Warehouse workers discuss company’s inaction in the face of the coronavirus pandemic

By Tom Carter, 19 March 2020

For workers in the the online retail giant’s facilities, few precautions have been taken beyond making hand sanitizer available and posting signs instructing workers to wash their hands.

World Health Organization pleads for $675 million to fight coronavirus

By Bryan Dyne, 14 March 2020

While the World Health Organization begs for resources to fight the global contagion, the Trump administration has provided $1.5 trillion to prop up the markets.

Shut down the auto industry to halt the spread of coronavirus!

By the Socialist Equality Party, 14 March 2020

At plants across North America, support for a mass walkout is growing. Workers must act now to save their lives and the lives of their families by forming rank-and-file committees.

US authorities in disarray and paralysis in face of Covid-19 emergency

By Benjamin Mateus, 13 March 2020

Health officials have been denied the ability to even accurately assess the extent of COVID-19 infections and, on the basis of such information, recommend the appropriate response.

Biden, Sanders appeal for joint action with Republicans over coronavirus pandemic

By Patrick Martin, 13 March 2020

In separate speeches, the two Democratic presidential candidates auditioned for the role of commander-in-chief for American capitalism in the midst of a deepening global crisis.

Patients denied care as Macron announces coronavirus lockdown in France

By Alex Lantier, 13 March 2020

French health authorities have already announced that they will try to deny testing and care to many of those they suspect to be infected with the coronavirus.

New York City declares state of emergency amid coronavirus pandemic

By Josh Varlin, 13 March 2020

New York City and New York state have announced new measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, of which there are now 328 cases statewide.

“It’s like the workers are second rate citizens”

Fiat Chrysler keeps Indiana plant running after worker tests positive for coronavirus

By Jerry White, 13 March 2020

The decision by Fiat Chrysler, which has been backed by the United Auto Workers union, is imperiling the lives of workers.

Massachusetts health care professionals warn of Covid-19 testing shortage and lack of worker protections

By Kate Randall, 13 March 2020

Doctors and nurses are frustrated over the lack of testing kits for the coronavirus as well the lack of protective equipment for health care workers in hospitals.

Washington governor bans gatherings of more than 250 as coronavirus spreads

By Hector Cordon, 13 March 2020

The virus continues to infect residents and employees of a nursing home at the center of the outbreak in Washington state and in the US.

Coronavirus overwhelms mitigation measures across Latin America

By Andrea Lobo, 13 March 2020

The late and deficient response by the Latin American ruling elite is being overwhelmed because it is guided by efforts to cover up, not address, the inequalities in access to testing and health care.

Coronavirus threatens to overwhelm UK National Health Service

By Thomas Scripps, 13 March 2020

As of Thursday morning, just 29,764 people had been tested nationally in the UK for coronavirus.

Congressional doctor expects up to 150 million Americans to contract the coronavirus

By Bryan Dyne, 12 March 2020

Without immediate and far-reaching measures to curb the spread of the infection, the United States will face a catastrophic scenario, with millions killed.

Italy’s coronavirus epidemic surges as mass layoffs announced

By Allison Smith, 12 March 2020

Not a single European Union country has responded to Italy’s appeal for desperately-needed emergency medical supplies.

Detroit reverses water shutoffs

Michigan governor declares state of emergency after state’s first two coronavirus cases confirmed

By Kathleen Martin, 12 March 2020

The Oakland and Wayne County residents are hospitalized and college campuses across the state are moving online as the pandemic spreads through the United States.

Concerns spread over inevitable outbreak of coronavirus in US immigrant detention centers

By Trévon Austin, 12 March 2020

Migrant rights advocacy groups have called for the immediate release of detainees who are at high risk from the coronavirus.

Canada: Absence of sick pay and job security preventing at-risk and ill workers from staying home amid Coronavirus crisis

By Penny Smith and Roger Jordan, 12 March 2020

One Vancouver-based worker in the so-called gig economy told CBC, “I don’t think people really understand what it means to not be able to miss work. It’s the difference between eating or not, the difference between having a place to live or not.”

Australian health professionals speak on lack of preparation for coronavirus pandemic

By our reporters, 12 March 2020

“There is a perception that the government does not care about the interests and safety of healthcare workers, and trust in authorities is low.”

Trump’s coronavirus address: Ignorance, xenophobia and helplessness

By James Cogan and Andre Damon, 12 March 2020

In remarks consisting largely of self-praise, Trump proposed no measures that would slow the spread of the disease and mitigate its effects.

The response of the working class to the coronavirus pandemic

By Joseph Kishore—Socialist Equality Party candidate for US president, 11 March 2020

The working class cannot remain passive as this crisis develops. It must organize and fight for its interests.

Italy emerging as the new epicenter for the Covid-19 pandemic

By Benjamin Mateus, 11 March 2020

Italy’s health care system is being overwhelmed by the growing number of serious respiratory illnesses that are filling the emergency rooms and hospitals throughout the Lombardy region.

Market turbulence continues in day of swings

By Nick Beams, 11 March 2020

The main factor behind the Wall Street rise appears to have been the announcement of a “major” US economic relief package, prompting the belief there are profits to be made out of such measures.

US nurses decry lack of planning and communication, equipment shortages in midst of COVID-19 spread

By Katy Kinner, 11 March 2020

A nationwide survey shows that a vast majority of hospitals are underprepared for COVID-19 outbreak as WSWS interviews with nurses across the country confirm.

“There’s been no real discussion at all”

Educators speak out on threat of coronavirus in US schools

By Evan Blake, 11 March 2020

As a result of decades of defunding public education and the criminal negligence of the political establishment, US schools are wholly unprepared for the rapid spread of COVID-19.

US sanctions on Iran turn coronavirus into a catastrophe

By Jean Shaoul, 11 March 2020

Officials announced at the weekend that the virus had spread to most of Iran’s provinces and warned that the number of cases could rise to more than 450,000.

Coronavirus pandemic surges across Europe

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier, 11 March 2020

Thousands fell ill with coronavirus and hundreds died yesterday in Europe as the pandemic kept surging across the continent.

Spain puts Madrid, Basque country on lockdown as coronavirus cases multiply

By Alejandro López, 11 March 2020

The decision came after Spain’s Ministry of Health said there were 1,622 registered cases, compared to 1,200 the day before.

National Guard deployed to New York City suburb as coronavirus outbreak intensifies

By Josh Varlin, 11 March 2020

New York now has the largest number of cases in the United States, and cases are multiplying in New York City itself.

Medical supplies running out in parts of Canada as first coronavirus death reported

By Roger Jordan, 11 March 2020

Healthcare officials are warning that hospitals across Canada were already running at or beyond capacity prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Julian Assange’s mother, doctors warn he is at heightened risk due to coronavirus

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 March 2020

In comments to the WSWS, Dr Stephen Frost warned that “the UK government is effectively playing Russian roulette with Julian Assange’s life” and demanded that he be released from Belmarsh Prison immediately.

As US coronavirus cases top 500, Italy initiates mass quarantine

By Benjamin Mateus, 9 March 2020

The World Health Organization has emphatically stated that the international community needs to take immediate action to curb the impact of the pandemic.

Italy quarantines multiple provinces as coronavirus death toll rises to 366

By Allison Smith, 9 March 2020

At least 16 million people are affected by state orders limiting public gatherings and events, as infighting spreads in ruling circles over how to halt the spread of the virus.

India restricts drug exports due to coronavirus impacts, threatening global drug supply

By Kranti Kumara, 9 March 2020

As India is a major global supplier of generic drugs, there are widespread fears that the export restrictions will lead to pharmaceutical price-hikes and shortages in countries around the world.

Modi government leaves millions of Indians vulnerable to coronavirus

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 9 March 2020

Given India’s high population density and dysfunctional public health system, its population is threatened by any rapid spread of the coronavirus.

World Health Organization warns of need for urgent response as coronavirus cases surpass 100,000

By Bryan Dyne, 7 March 2020

If the current trends continue, the total number of cases outside China will surge past the number of cases within China by the end of the month.

European states dither on emergency response as coronavirus spreads globally

By Alex Lantier, 7 March 2020

If illness totals in European countries continue to grow exponentially at current rates of 30 percent or more daily, it would take around one month for the disease totals in each of the larger European countries to reach into the millions.

Local transmission of coronavirus increasing in Australia

By James Cogan, 6 March 2020

Frustration and anger are rising over the lack of pre-emptive action by federal and state governments.

What must be done to fight the coronavirus pandemic

By Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (United States), 6 March 2020

The resources and technology exist to stop a disease that threatens to kill over a hundred million people. Capitalism cannot be allowed to be an obstacle to saving lives!