Democracy Now!

Protect Immigrant Communities: Fear Mounts of Deadly COVID-19 Outbreak in U.S. Border Camps, ICE Jails

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has joined thousands of medical professionals and immigration rights groups to demand that Immigration and Customs Enforcement release all prisoners from immigration jails as the coronavirus continues to spread. Meanwhile, immigration advocates are working to prepare crowded encampments of asylum seekers across the U.S.-Mexico border for a potentially catastrophic outbreak of COVID-19. Since the implementation of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, tens of thousands of asylum seekers from regions like Central America and Africa have been stranded in Mexican border cities waiting for their asylum cases to resolve in U.S. courts. We speak to Laura Molinar, founder and executive director of Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas, a Latinx, women of color-led collective providing support to immigrant and asylee women, children and families.

How Taiwan Contained COVID-19: Early Action, Technology & Millions of Face Masks

Taiwan, despite being just 100 miles from mainland China with regular flights to and from Wuhan, has successfully staved off the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. The country has so far seen five deaths and just under 350 confirmed cases, and most schools and businesses remain open. How did Taiwan do it? “Aggressive action,” says Dr. Jason Wang, the former project manager for Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Reform Task-force. He is now the director of the Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention and associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at Stanford University. He speaks with us about Taiwan’s strategy and what the world can learn from it.

As Virus Spreads in Philippines, So Does Authoritarianism: Duterte Threatens Violence Amid Lockdown

In the Philippines, authoritarian President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he’s ordered soldiers to shoot to kill residents if they resist a strict lockdown on the island of Luzon. His order came after residents of Manila’s Quezon City shanty town staged a protest, saying they’ve gone hungry without food promised when the lockdown began more than two weeks ago. The Philippines death toll is 136 with more than 3,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. As those numbers grow, nurses and doctors report a drastic lack of personal protective equipment. While the Philippines has seen a surge in cases, Indonesia is now reporting the second most fatalities in Asia after China with 181 dead. Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan have also had success in containing the virus. For more on how countries in the region are responding to coronavirus, we speak with Natashya Gutierrez, editor-in-chief of VICE Asia.

"Our Bodies Are On the Line": NYC Nurses Demand Protective Gear as COVID-19 Death Toll Skyrockets

Nurses in California, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada and Texas are protesting one of the nation’s largest hospital chains for a “lack of preparedness” amid the coronavirus pandemic. They’re calling on HCA Healthcare to provide optimal personal protective equipment, or PPE, for nurses and other staff. In New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, nurses and doctors at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx protested Thursday over the lack of PPE. Today another protest is underway in front of Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan calling for more PPE, better staffing and COVID-19 testing for frontline staff. Live from the protest, we speak with Tre Kwon, an ICU nurse at Mount Sinai West and a member of the COVID-19 Frontline Workers Task Force at Mount Sinai Hospital. Kwon ended her maternity leave early to help her colleagues address the COVID-19 pandemic, which is overwhelming New York City hospitals. Kwon is also a member of Left Voice.

Headlines for April 3, 2020

"There Aren't Enough Tests": As Pandemic Intensifies, Global South Prepares for the Worst

After devastating China, Europe and the United States, the coronavirus pandemic is now intensifying across the Global South. The United Nations warns the pandemic is poised to destroy fragile economies in poor nations, decimating food security, education and human rights. We speak with Yanis Ben Amor, assistant professor of global health and microbiological sciences at Columbia University and executive director of the Center for Sustainable Development at the Earth Institute.

"Social Distancing Is a Privilege": Pandemic Highlights India's Class Divide as 1.3 Billion Lock Down

In India, 1.3 billion people have been locked down for more than a week to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The country reports nearly 2,000 cases and at least 50 deaths. Millions living in poverty and migrant workers were stranded far from home when the lockdown was announced, and some have reportedly died making the perilous journey home. More than 80% of India’s workforce is informal, with most living off daily wages often less than $2 or $3 a day — wages they cannot earn under the present curfew — and more than 4 million Indians are homeless. We speak with Indian journalist Rana Ayyub, a contributing global opinions writer for The Washington Post. Her recent piece in Foreign Policy is headlined “Social Distancing Is a Privilege.”

As U.S. Reels from COVID-19, Trump Backs Gilead's Exclusive Patent on Treatment & Suspends EPA Rules

As the United States leads the world in coronavirus cases, the nation’s healthcare system is already stretched to capacity and protective gear in short supply. President Trump and his health advisors say more than 100,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus in the next two weeks. Meanwhile, millions of people have lost their jobs, and a record 6.6 million unemployment claims were filed this week, on top of last week’s 3.3 million claims. For more on the economic impacts of the coronavirus, and how Trump has responded to the pandemic by rewarding pharmaceutical corporations like Gilead Sciences and indefinitely suspending environmental regulations, we speak with Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

Headlines for April 2, 2020

#CancelRent: Tenants Demand Rent Relief & Organize Strikes as Unemployment Surges Due to COVID-19

Today is April 1, and millions across the country don’t have the money to pay rent. But despite eviction moratoriums and relief on mortgage payments in hard-hit states like California, Washington and New York, no rent freeze has been ordered. In response, tenants around the country are calling for immediate rent cancellation. Some are planning to “rent strike.” Meanwhile, many workers who lost their income due to the pandemic haven’t even been able to file for unemployment in New York state, with the unemployment website continually crashing and phone lines jammed. Seven-point-eight million people called the New York state Labor Department hotline last week, compared to the average 50,000. We get an update from Cea Weaver, campaign coordinator for Housing Justice for All, which is organizing to cancel rent during the coronavirus.

With Hospitals Reaching Breaking Point, Pregnant People Face Additional Uncertainty During Pandemic

New York hospitals cannot force pregnant people to give birth without a chosen support person. That’s what an executive order released by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Sunday revealed. The order comes in response to a move by the NewYork-Presbyterian and the Mount Sinai hospital systems to bar partners from labor and delivery rooms, causing widespread outrage. But how are pregnant people coping with new hospital guidelines and uncertain conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic? We speak with freelance journalist Amy Littlefield, who focuses on the intersection of religion and healthcare, about what she is confronting now at the end of her pregnancy. Her piece for Insider is “I’m nine months pregnant, and I’m bringing my baby into a world I no longer understand. I have to remain hopeful anyway.”

"Profit Over People": UPS Workers Say Company Not Prioritizing Safety as Workers Test Positive

The White House is now estimating 100,000 to a quarter of a million people could die from the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those most concerned about exposure to the highly infectious virus are workers on the frontlines of grocery stores and delivery services. On Monday, Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island walked off the job, and the company fired one of them in response. At least three employees at a large UPS facility near Boston have tested positive, and two dozen more have been quarantined. Details about the infections were shared by the workers’ union because they said the company refused to provide the critical information to its employees. We speak with Richard Hooker, secretary-treasurer of the Philadelphia Teamsters Local 623, and David Levin, lead organizer with Teamsters for a Democratic Union and the coordinator of the UPS Teamsters United campaign.

Headlines for April 1, 2020

"It Shattered My Life": Former Joe Biden Staffer Tara Reade Says He Sexually Assaulted Her in 1993

In an exclusive Democracy Now! TV/radio broadcast, we speak with Tara Reade, the former staffer in Joe Biden’s Senate office who has come forward with allegations that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. Last week, The Intercept reported that the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, set up to help survivors of rape and sexual assault, refused to fund a #MeToo investigation into allegations against Biden. Reade told journalist Katie Halper in an interview published Tuesday that Biden repeatedly touched her without her consent and sexually assaulted her. Reade approached the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in January looking for assistance, but was reportedly told the fund could not help her because Biden is a candidate for federal office, and pursuing a case could jeopardize the fund’s nonprofit status. Reade says she learned from The Intercept report that the public relations firm representing Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Communities Enduring Racism & Poverty Will Suffer Most Due to COVID-19

As the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States tops 3,100, states are demanding ventilators and medical supplies. Michigan is a growing hot spot and struggling to prepare for a surge in cases, but President Trump has repeatedly attacked Michigan’s governor, calling her “that woman.” We speak with the former director of the Detroit Health Department, Abdul El-Sayed. He’s a physician and epidemiologist, and his new book is just out today, “Healing Politics: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic.” His recent piece for The Guardian is headlined “Coronavirus is exploiting an underlying condition: our epidemic of insecurity.”

Headlines for March 31, 2020

"Housing Is Health": Calls Grow for California to Give Vacant Homes to Unhoused People Amid Pandemic

We look at the crisis of homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic in California, where the number of cases has passed 6,000 with 132 deaths. The entire state has been ordered to shelter in place, leaving the state’s massive unhoused population extremely vulnerable. As the state braces for a surge in cases, tens of thousands of people are living on the streets. A recent study estimates that nearly 2,600 unhoused people will need to be hospitalized for the virus in Los Angeles alone — and nearly 1,000 will need intensive care. We speak with Martha Escudero, a member of a group of unhoused mothers, elders and families who have moved into vacant houses, and Carroll Fife, director of the Oakland office for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).

Housing Not Shelters: Amid Pandemic, Homeless New Yorkers Demand Refuge in Vacant Apartments, Hotels

More than 100 million people across the United States have been ordered to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but what about people who are homeless? Tens of thousands of homeless people in New York City shelters and on the streets have been left with no way to safely shelter in place. We hear from people who are homeless, and speak with Kiana Davis, advocate and policy analyst with the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center.

We Need a Public Health New Deal: Neoliberal Austerity & Private Healthcare Worsened U.S. Pandemic

It’s been described as the public health failure of the century. As the United States leads the world in coronavirus infections, a record number of Americans file for unemployment. Gasping for air, gasping for care; what does global health justice look like? We speak with two Yale professors who say decades of neoliberal austerity make it harder to fight the pandemic. They propose a New Deal for public health. Gregg Gonsalves is assistant professor in epidemiology of microbial diseases at Yale School of Public Health; Amy Kapczynski is professor of law at Yale Law School and co-founder of the Law and Political Economy blog. They are co-directors of the Global Health Justice Partnership.

Headlines for March 30, 2020

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