Blacks and the Indigenous community continue to bear the brunt of a deadly global virus that humbled the most powerful and wealthiest country on earth in 2020.
The Covid-19 virus is exacerbated by underlying health conditions from which these groups suffer, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, asthma, and obesity.
Black America continues to confront the coronavirus, amid calls for moratoriums on evictions, foreclosures, fees and fines alongside cell phone and utility shut-offs, which some companies and localities have agreed to.
Congress passed a stimulus package that included $25 billion in rental assistance and continued a national ban on evictions from some federal properties through January. It was set to expire on Dec. 31 as advocates for renters, affordable and low-income housing braced for an estimated 30-40 million pandemic-driven evictions.
“Overt racism was definitely on display, as individuals knew that Black and Brown people were the most affected by the virus. And yet, their response to the virus has been abysmal, and allowing these individuals to suffer more than what they would have during any other condition, or what have you,” said Dr. Armen Henderson, a general medicine and internal medicine specialist who practices at the University of Miami Hospital.
Federal health officials also admitted a new coronavirus strain which began in the United Kingdom and another in South Africa could possibly be in the U.S., weeks after the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines for Emergency Use Authorization for individuals 16 and older in December.
The Trump administration also recently purchased another 100 million doses of Pfizer, Inc.’s controversial Covid-19 vaccine. The first 600,000 doses have been distributed, and 5.9 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine began arriving in states on Dec. 21, according to the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed.
Fears remain, despite assurances from vaccine makers, about possible side effects including Bell’s Palsy, which causes a drooping paralysis effect on one side of the face, and allergic reactions. There was also concern that the new virus strains, which led to UK shutdowns and requirements for testing before allowing Brits entry into Europe, can increase infections and mean more people admitted to already stretched and stressed hospitals in the United States. Concerns continued about covid unknowns, including whether the vaccine will protect against the new strains and any possible risks associated with new biotechnology mRNA used in the vaccine.
The vaccine makers and government health officials have admitted they don’t know whether the vaccine will stop infections or transmission of the virus, but it will reduce severe symptoms, they promised.
Democrats and Republicans passed a $900 billion Covid-19 relief package bill but the president threatened to veto it. President Trump demanded that enhanced benefits include $2,000 for individuals, up from a $600 stimulus check. President Trump also called on Congress to increase the stimulus payments to $4,000 for couples. He complained the legislation provided more aid to foreign countries than to Americans, in a video tweet.
Dr. Armen Henderson argued capitalism played a part in the virus’ devastating impact in Black and Brown communities. He complained that a wave of business owners and CEOs of large corporations got rich or richer because they had inside information relating to the pandemic and were able to cancel stock in one company and buy in another.
“The top 1 percent got billions and billions of dollars richer, while individuals were struggling to get basic necessities, water and food and things of that nature,” he said.
In December, the government launched a multimillion dollar media campaign to convince the public, especially Blacks and Hispanics, to accept vaccines and enroll in clinical trials. The effort included interviews with government health officials on major Black talk shows, virtual town hall meetings with national Black medical schools, doctors, civil rights leaders, nurses, pastors, sororities and universities, and some hip hop artists and celebrities.
Part of the push to get Blacks vaccinated came from Surgeon General Jerome Adams. In an interview with Los Angeles’ KTLA 5 TV, he called on Los Angeles Lakers pro-basketball champion LeBron James to publicly take the vaccine shot to encourage others to follow suit.
But, some asked, will Black celebrities who don’t want to persuade or tell their fans to take the vaccine be vilified?
Plus, vaccine makers reported there weren’t enough vaccine doses to vaccinate everyone who wants it and would not likely be available until next spring, according to some reports.
Nation of Islam researcher and student minister Wesley Muhammad, a sought after lecturer and writer who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, called out the government’s aggressive narrative.
“They have no reason to employ a different playbook, because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And their strategies with us have been working so successfully for so long. The Nurse Eunice Rivers strategy has always worked for them. So why abandon it now?” asked Dr. Wesley Muhammad. He was referring to the Black nurse who befriended Black men during the infamous U.S. Syphilis Study at Tuskegee University in Alabama, where Black men with syphilis were denied care for 40 years as part of U.S. Public Health agency research.
The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 an international pandemic in March. News surfaced in September that President Trump knew the severity of the virus but downplayed it for political reasons. He told journalist Bob Woodard in a series of interviews in February and March that he wanted to play it down and still liked playing it down, because he didn’t want to create a panic. But, he added, the coronavirus was serious and deadly.
The Covid-19 virus shut down major and minor league sports, schools, colleges and businesses as California kicked off the country’s mandatory stay-at-home orders on March 19, except for frontline health and essential job workers, who were often poor and low income wage earners.
What surfaced as one case in Washington state on Jan. 15 now ravages the U.S. today with a record 18.2 million infections and 322,851 deaths across the country. Globally, the coronavirus has claimed the lives of 1.7 million people and infections were logged at 78.1 million cases at press time.
The Centers for Disease Control detected the first sign of the virus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in a major February 2020 address in Detroit to close the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day convention, warned America is facing dangerous times under an imperial president and is a nation facing divine judgment during his address, “The Unraveling of a Great Nation.”
Not long after Min. Farrakhan’s address, President Trump declared a travel ban on non-U.S. citizens traveling from Europe and a national emergency on March 13, but not before the stock market spiraled to record lows, taking much of people’s 401K investment portfolios with it.
President Trump and congressional leaders announced a $2 trillion economic stimulus package called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which included a $1,200 stimulus check. Black business owners hardest hit by Covid-19 received very little of the aid the CARES Act provided to business owners. Critics argued the package did not go far enough to address the needs of Black businesses.
Meanwhile, Alan Dershowitz, a Jewish attorney, argued prior to the development of vaccines that the U.S. government has a right to “plunge a needle into your arm” with forced vaccinations.
“Mr. Alan Dershowitz, if you bring the Covid-19 vaccine and say you’re going to bring your army to force us to take it, once you try to force us, that’s a declaration of war on all of us. You only have this one life,” said Minister Farrakhan during his July 4 address “The Criterion.” He delivered it from his farm in Michigan.
“Fight like hell to keep it and fight like hell to destroy those whose heart and mind is to destroy you and take your life from you,” said Minister Farrakhan. “Don’t take their vaccines. There are 14 therapies that are in the world today that we can use to fight against the covid virus. America you won’t solve it. The scientists of the world, you won’t solve it,” said Minister Farrakhan. “This virus is a pestilence from heaven, so scholarship from hell can’t deal with a pestilence that came from heaven. But if you want to stop it, you have to go to heaven.”
Within days after he spoke, noted his National Spokesperson Student Minister Ava Muhammad, the U.S. government completely changed its strategy from getting the country to take the vaccination and pivoted from threats to persuasion.
Their campaign is urging Blacks to act in opposition to the Divine Commandments from Allah (God), wrote Minister Ava Muhammad in her Final Call article, entitled “The Covid-19 Vaccine and the U.S. policy of depopulation,” published on Dec. 8.
“If you have difficulty believing that killing Original people is actually policy, not just random violence, then ask yourself how we can trust the makers and administrators of the Covid-19 vaccine when U.S. laws protect them from liability for injury or death caused by the vaccine,” questioned Minister Ava Muhammad.
The scientists of this world are engaged in a futile search to find a solution to the pestilence that arrived shortly after the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan declared we are witnessing the unraveling of a great nation in his Saviours’ Day 2020 message, she said.
“The ‘novel virus’ named Covid-19 has unmasked the dark underbelly of the United States of America. It has fully revealed so much: the absence of a health care system; the engine of inequality that is their educational system and the virulent racism that generated everything from the Tuskegee Experiment to the murder of George Floyd. White supremacy has destroyed far more lives than the virus,” stated Minister Ava Muhammad.
“Covid-19 fully manifested the U.S. policy of Depopulation. We watched the satanic minds of Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci, and Alan Dershowitz work with Big Pharma to deliver an experimental vaccine designed to make us other than ourselves. When the Minister issued a directive not to take the vaccine it initiated the Final Conflict between Allah and Satan that we are witnessing now,” continued Minister Ava Muhammad.
She added, “Through all we have suffered, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is time to come out of a system that is actively denying us a full and complete freedom. Separation is the best and only solution.”
Blacks and the American public have continued to exhibit distrust and express a refusal to take the vaccines. Polls have found “fewer than half of Black adults, 48 percent, say they probably or definitely would get a coronavirus vaccine if it were available for free—including just 18 percent who definitely would get vaccinated.”
Vaccines typically take 5 to 15 years to develop and check for safety and efficacy.
President Trump has admitted he wanted to expedite the vaccine development prior to the 2020 national elections for political reasons.
Fears over whether or not Covid-19 vaccines would be made mandatory in the United States escalated at year end, especially when the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on December 16 that employers could require workers get a Covid-19 vaccine with exceptions for workers with disabilities and those with “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
“It is unfortunate that what we are seeing is that the pharmaceutical industry is using a lot of our professionals. Just recently, they’re using pastors to promote and advertise to their congregation to take the vaccine. So now here is a pastor who was reluctant of taking the vaccine. Now, he said he’ll take it, and now he’ll tell his congregation to do that,” said Patrick Muhammad, a Nation of Islam regional minister based in Miami. The Nation’s mosque in Miami has organized the 7th Region Coalition, which holds weekly discussions and organizes in opposition to Covid-19 vaccinations.
According to Pauline Muhammad, a licensed family nurse practitioner in Miami, some people were offered iPhones to participate in clinical trials. A doctor who worked on Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ clinical trials, told medical professionals, pastors and their church members during a strategy call that the phone was to assist with tracking illnesses, she said.
Experts expect 2021 to be filled with continued restrictions including sheltering in place at least for the early part of the year due to rising numbers as the year ends. The vaccine is not a silver bullet that magically returns things to normal.
Dr. Henderson believes the new year portends massive evictions, layoffs, unpaid unemployment, food scarcity, loss of wealth, vaccinations, and decreases in life expectancy for Black, Indigenous and poor and working class people.
“I really hope I’m wrong but I don’t see things getting any better without protests, fights, confrontation, and massive organizing. 2020 was a disaster. We will spend 2021 clawing ourselves out of crisis,” he predicted.