Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 34 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Back-to-work drive places countless thousands at risk

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   2 comments
Message Patrick Martin


Autoworkers getting off a shift at the Fiat Chrysler stamping plant in Warren, Michigan
Autoworkers getting off a shift at the Fiat Chrysler stamping plant in Warren, Michigan
(Image by WSWS photo)
  Details   DMCA

This week marks a significant turning point in the global coronavirus pandemic. In the United States, the country with more infections and more deaths than any other, the Trump administration and the governments of nearly every state have authorized the reopening of major factories and other workplaces and a broader reopening of the economy.

This policy will have disastrous consequences. The coronavirus is extremely infectious, spread through aerosols or on surfaces. Encouraged by the Trump administration and the media, scenes of mass gatherings at public locations are beginning to emerge. People are engaging in behavior without understanding the consequences, and which they will come to regret.

Just days after the top government scientists Anthony Fauci and Rick Bright told Congress that a premature return to work risks a major resurgence of COVID-19, tens of thousands of US auto workers return to crowded factories today.

The United States, with barely four percent of the world's population, has 32 percent of the world's cases and 29 percent of the world's deaths. The coming week will see the US death toll, already topping 91,000, approach 100,000. The total number of cases has already passed 1.5 million. Due to the extended incubation of the virus, the true impact of the policy being adopted will emerge by the end of the month.

The criminal policy of the ruling class is being implemented even as much remains unknown about the nature of the coronavirus. In one of the most alarming reports, it has been revealed that 13 sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19 a second time, after recovering from the disease and returning to the ship. This calls into question whether surviving the coronavirus confers any long-lasting immunity.

Workers are being forced back to work without universal testing to screen, isolate and treat those already infected with the coronavirus. Each workplace, therefore, has the potential to become a new focal point of a new outbreak of the pandemic.

A new paper published in the journal Health Affairs estimates that without social distancing and lock-down orders, "10 million more people in the United States would have been infected with the virus by the end of April." Such a toll, increasing exponentially month by month, is the predictable outcome of the ending of these protective measures.

Despite claims by Trump, the reopening is not taking place because the coronavirus epidemic has been defeated, or even contained. Factories and workplaces are reopening because the corporate owners demand it: workers must return to work and resume the process of generating surplus value and profit, regardless of the cost in terms of suffering and human life.

Anyone wishing to know the brutal psychology that prevails on Wall Street can consult this week's report by William Cohan of Vanity Fair, based on interviews with investment bankers. The headline conveys the comment of one Wall Street denizen: "People will die. People do die."

This same banker used financial market jargon to dismiss the impact of the pandemic. "We can't shut down the country for some minuscule number of people," he said. "This is not a 100% death rate. It's a number of basis points."

"Basis points"a term used in financial circles to discuss the movement of interest rates -- is how the deaths of tens of thousands of people are regarded.

Even cruder thinking, if it can be called that, pervades the Trump clan. Trump's son Eric dismissed social distancing as a Democratic Party plot, telling Fox News Saturday it was meant to sabotage his father's reelection campaign. "They think they're taking away Donald Trump's greatest tool, which is to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every time," he said. "You watch," he added, "They will milk it every single day between now and November 3. And guess what, after November 3 coronavirus will magically, all of a sudden, go away and disappear, and everybody will be able to reopen."

The American government is at war with its population. The Trump administration is leading this campaign, but he has been sustained by the media and the supposed opposition in the Democratic Party.

It is a Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who authorized the reopening of the Michigan auto plants today. It is a Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, who included in recent state legislation a provision exempting New York nursing homes from liability for the horrendous death toll from COVID-19, in which negligence, understaffing and profit-gouging by the owners played so large a role.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Patrick Martin Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Patrick Martin writes for the World Socialist Website (, a forum for socialist ideas & analysis & published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Low-wage, No-raise Economy

Mounting political crisis in Washington amidst talk of removal of Trump

US House of Representatives votes to abolish Medicare

Nearly One Million US Workers Cut Off Unemployment Benefits

Obama hails deal to impose record cuts in social spending

US House of Representatives approves plan to destroy Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend