Cracks in the Foundation
COVID-19 has all but disappeared from California. At this writing, our positivity rate -- the percentage of tests that are coming back positive -- is 1.2%.
California has gone from being one of the worst places in the nation for COVID-19 to being the best. The joke is that everyone who could get COVID already got it. The reality is that California has been helped by the absence of a strong anti-vax movement in the state.
But there are cracks in the rosy picture.
COVID has laid bare the race gap, the class gap, the education gap and the employment gap, along with the digital divide and the partisan divide in this country. The cracks in our foundation have been painfully clear, whether you are measuring the rates of infection, the mortality rates or the rates of vaccinations. Pick your favorite; the numbers will show that educated middle- and upper-income white people were less likely to get COVID and 3 or 4 times less likely to die if they were to get it.
The vaccine is free in America. The big vaccination sites in Los Angeles County were nowhere near West LA or Beverly Hills or Sherman Oaks, where white people are the majority. There are no mobile vans nearby, no community centers offering vaccines, no outreach efforts in Brentwood, O.J. Simpson's old stomping ground. It doesn't matter. A free vaccine and a convenient location haven't been enough to close the huge gaps between whites and Hispanics and Blacks.
But the situation at home simply cannot be compared to what we are seeing in the rest of the world.
There is no bigger gap right now than the gap between us and them, between the United States, where vaccines are sitting in freezers, and India, where it has been reported that only 2% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Part of the blame is being placed squarely on the government. The Serum Institute of India is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines. Yet until the current emergency, the government had only ordered enough vaccines for some 4% of the population.
But India is hardly the only country in trouble, and it has more resources to rely on than most. Europe is struggling. The Middle East is suffering. And in most of Africa, vaccination rates are in the single digits.