The World of Health Privilege: Why The Rich Can Finally "Ignore" Covid (and You)

The World of Health Privilege: Why The Rich Can Finally "Ignore" Covid (and You)
Antonio Rodriguez

On that Ashish Jha column...

There’s a new column out by Ashish Jha in The Boston Globe that assures everyone we can finally ignore Covid with “a few basic steps.” I don’t know about you, but I think it’s weird that these public health goons have been writing the same column for almost three years now. Every time, they’re wrong.

The column makes one thing clear: Jha and his rich buddies live in a different world from the rest of us. It’s not a world of public health.

It’s a world of health privilege.

Jha lives in a world where every office, school, and restaurant has clean air. He lives in a world where he can get Paxlovid whenever he wants, as well as the other treatments he references but never names. That’s the reality he describes in his latest column, but that’s not the one most of us live in.

Jha lives in a world where the elite can hire companies to plan “Covid safe” events for them. Of course, he doesn’t talk about that.

Jha doesn’t live in our world.

He ignores it.

In our world, variants have made monoclonal antibody treatments useless. We can’t get tested for Covid anytime we want. It still takes 2-3 days to get results. The rapid tests barely work. We have to beg for Paxlovid. Even if a doctor writes us a prescription, a pharmacy can refuse to fill it.

They often do.

We live in a world where nearly one out of every five kids develops some form of Long Covid after infection, and they don’t get fancy treatments.

We live in a world where our coworkers give us mean looks for wearing masks. We live in a world where fast-food franchises force their workers to show their smiles to abusive customers. We live in a world where our bosses won’t even let us donate air purifiers to our offices.

Jha doesn’t care.

Jha made at least $440,000 simply by giving speeches about public health and serving as a “consultant” for corporations during the pandemic. He made that cash before he ever joined the Biden administration as the pandemic response coordinator. Other public health officials have gotten in trouble for not disclosing those kinds of outside interests—not him.

Jha has spent most of his career in the ivy league. You’d think his credentials would make him a defender of public health. Instead, they don’t seem to do anything but blind him to the needs of ordinary Americans.

Just to be clear, Jha is talking about a virus that you can only protect yourself from with N95 masks, air purifiers, and two shots every year. That’s ultimately what he recommends for the most vulnerable.

Is that a virus you can ignore?

I don’t think so.

Meanwhile, he carefully tiptoes around the very obvious fact that the more times you catch Covid, the more vulnerable you become.

Jha’s advice is worthless. It’s reckless.

You could even call it cruel.

Jha and others have spent years maneuvering public sentiment to this point. It used to be commonplace advice for everyone to mask. Now they’re saying it only really makes sense to wear a mask if you’re extremely vulnerable, and nobody has any obligation to do anything to protect you.

Jha’s advice guarantees that within the next few years, everyone will be vulnerable, but nobody will be protected—except the elite.

We’re already a third of the way there.

Even the CDC has estimated that a fifth of those infected with Covid now has a health condition related to it. Our so-called “experts” seem to be doing everything they can to push that number even higher.

It’s not public health to make light of a virus like that. It’s not public health to go around pretending everyone has access to the same protections and treatments, when they’re reserved for the rich. It’s not public health to tell anyone they can ignore a virus that disables 20 percent of those infected.

It’s health indifference.

It’s health privilege.

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