Australian SEP Election Members Discuss Omicron Push and Global Worker Inquiry into COVID-19 Pandemic
World Socialist Website journalists spoke to electoral members of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) this week about the workers’ global survey on COVID-19.
Initiated by the WSWS on November 21, the investigation will investigate the origins, causes and consequences of the pandemic and expose the political and economic forces responsible for enabling its uncontrolled transmission.
The discovery of Omicron, just a day later, demonstrated the need for investigation. “Let it rip” policies adopted by governments around the world have seen the highly infectious variant spread rapidly across the globe. In Australia, there has been a massive increase in the number of cases, with more cases in the first two weeks of 2022 than the total for the previous two years.
Election members talk about the rise of Omicron across the country and the importance of the worker survey. They joined the SEP in backing the campaign to defeat anti-democratic election laws designed to silence growing popular opposition to major political parties.
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Gina, 27, is a customer service representative and a part-time student at TAFE in Sydney. “I thought Dr. Jimenez’s testimony was an indictment of organizations like the CDC and WHO. We trust these organizations so much to guide and protect us from disease, but it seems they have no interest in eradicating COVID-19.
“If the virus is airborne, then entering an office or factory, or crossing a border as a truck driver is incredibly dangerous. We are told that it is too expensive to find alternatives, it is too expensive to provide workers with adequate masks. These public health organizations are incredibly corrupt,” she said.
“There is a huge risk for governments if the truth comes out about how COVID is spreading. They don’t want it known that the virus is airborne and highly transmissible, because that would highlight the fact that a lot of infrastructure would need to be updated for the working class to work safely. This is not something these governments want to spend money on.
“The measures put in place to manage COVID are not enough. The WHO refused to take down its Tweet about the spread of the virus by droplets. It was a good point made by Dr Jimenez about the WHO singing on rooftops that it was being spread by droplets and then whispering that it was airborne,” she said .
“The worker survey is essential because it is clear that governments and health organizations do not want to provide evidence on how it is spreading and what we need to do to keep us safe. Only the WSWS provides this information to the working class.
We must hold governments accountable for their murderous policies. What the government is doing looks like eugenics—the old, the disabled—they can’t live anymore. All governments think about is how to make a financial gain out of it rather than how to protect a society from the deadly virus.
“In a testimonial from Inquest, it was pointed out that Astra Zeneca is not an effective vaccine against the newer variant of Omicron, but that is all that has been offered to young people in Australia for a long time. didn’t tell us it wasn’t safe. I feel like the confusion was intentional. How could it be otherwise? It doesn’t make sense to be so confused about something and not having a proper plan in place.
“The WSWS has not just made a video about the virus, it has published a multitude of interviews, with professors, epidemiologists, doctors, etc., around the world, to provide us with an inside view. 360 degrees. I learned from one of the videos that we could eradicate the virus if we had a two month lockdown. We don’t have to “live with the virus”, but we can actually eradicate it. We we have a choice,” she said.
“The number one next step to ending this pandemic is to create rank-and-file committees in the workplace. We must have safe workplaces, otherwise we will not return to work.
“The ruling class has earned billions from the misery of working people over the past two years. We need the unification of the working class against the capitalist class which is actively trying to kill us. Once we are united, we can step in, take action and hold these people accountable for the people they killed,” Gina said.
Anna is an aged care nurse from the Philippines. She works in a private nursing home where she contracted COVID-19 last year. The establishment has just registered a new outbreak.
“It’s only getting worse now and we’ve had positive cases. Three residents are positive, but I don’t know how many employees because management doesn’t disclose it,” she said.
“PCR test results take so long, up to five days, which means some staff could test positive and still be working. A staff member told me that his test was invalid because he had been in the pathology lab for so long.
“I wonder why there are no restrictions. The government removed the restrictions even though the number of cases got so high. I don’t know what’s going on. Does that mean everyone has to get it? What about old people who are sick? Nothing was imposed [to protect them], which is a bad thing.
“In December, before school ended, I took two PCR tests because my daughter’s classmate’s family, the whole family, was infected with the virus. The principal asked us to take tests and said if you’re negative, spread the word,’ she said.
Anna had to get a booster shot independently, because she was not supplied at work. As with the first and second vaccinations, staff at the home were told that if there were any boosters left after residents were vaccinated, they would be given to staff. None happened.
“It’s not right that the union doesn’t say anything. They’re supposed to be there to help. I don’t know what they’re doing.
Brand, who is currently on a disability pension, said: ‘The immediate situation is that the healthcare system is broken. I tried to make an appointment for a call back but the whole system is chaotic.
“The implications are that the pandemic is now an ongoing thing, which really raises the question of a solution to the problem and what needs to be done to end the pandemic. I have never seen a crisis of these proportions before in Australia, but government policy is to allow the virus to spread and everyone to catch it,” he said.
“What happens to people who contract Long COVID? What will be done to treat them, which raises questions about the gradual reduction in health care spending in general.
“The government intends to neglect the problems it has created. How much real money will go to health care? The government is not prepared to spend the millions of dollars needed to treat those who have been infected,” he said.
“It is not in the interest of governments and capitalists to defend health when it encroaches on their profits, which means that the working class must really think about what it is going to do and then act on it. these decisions.
“The unions are doing nothing in the face of this crisis. A few weeks ago my sister-in-law took her child to hospital in Adelaide and the nurse practically begged her to contact the government as the hospital system was collapsing. I agree with the Socialist Equality Party that trade unions have been turned into a tool of the state,” Mark added.