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The coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 spreads, deaths rise in US following return to work

By Marcus Day, 25 May 2020

Tens of thousands of workers have been infected with the coronavirus at grocery stores, meatpacking plants, Amazon warehouses, and in other industries.

South Asian countries ease COVID-19 lockdowns despite sharp rise in infections

By our correspondents, 25 May 2020

The absence of health care infrastructure across the region means that huge numbers of cases are going undetected, and many are dying due to a lack of basic medical care.

White House coronavirus task force labels Washington, D.C. area a hot spot as region begins reopening

By Nick Barrickman, 25 May 2020

On Friday, Dr. Deborah Birx noted the “ongoing cases” throughout the region even as state and local officials have begun reopening their economies.

Minnesota buys a warehouse to store bodies of expected COVID-19 victims

By Gary Joad, 25 May 2020

The 75,000-square foot refrigerated produce warehouse has the capacity to store 5,100 bodies of persons expected to succumb to the COVID-19 surge in the coming weeks.

Central Michigan flooding exposes criminal neglect of dam safety

By Lily Zhao, 25 May 2020

While the Democratic and Republican parties and the media point to Boyce Hydro's long history of safety violations, why was nothing done to stop the dam’s decay?

High COVID-19 infection rates among doctors and nurses in Germany

By Markus Salzmann, 25 May 2020

According to the public health body Robert Koch Institute, more than 20,000 workers in German hospitals, doctors’ practices, nursing homes and care services are now infected.

Boris Johnson defends key adviser over flouting UK lockdown rules

By Robert Stevens, 25 May 2020

Cummings was one of the chief advocates for Britain’s “herd immunity” policy, based on the mass infection of the population with coronavirus.

Minnesota nurses oppose retaliation over demands for protective equipment

By Anthony Bertolt, 25 May 2020

The determined demands by nurses and health care workers for the necessary protections, equipment and staffing levels has thrust them into a political struggle.

US juvenile detention centers record 474 COVID-19 cases

By Sam Dalton, 25 May 2020

As more information about COVID-19’s effects on minors emerges, the virus’s unchecked spread in the juvenile prison population is leading to deadly consequences.

More US grocery workers die from COVID-19

By Bill Frost, 25 May 2020

An employee of Kings Soopers in Denver, Colorado, one of hundreds of supermarket workers who have been infected across the country, died last week.

Dozens of Nashville, Tennessee, construction workers test positive for COVID-19

By Warren Duzak, 25 May 2020

Last week it was confirmed that 74 construction workers at an exclusive Tennessee prep school building site had tested positive for coronavirus.

Canadian medical experts warn COVID-19 will spike due to back-to-work push

By Roger Jordan, 25 May 2020

All Canada’s provinces—including those where widespread community transmission of COVID-19 continues—are now lifting lockdown measures that slowed the pandemic’s spread.

Memorial Day in America: 100,000 COVID-19 deaths surpass combined US combat fatalities in Korea and Vietnam

By Barry Grey, 25 May 2020

A false narrative dominates the entire coverage of the expanding pandemic—that human life must be balanced against the “economy,” by which is meant the economy of the rich.

Coronavirus pandemic spreads across the US South

Hospitals overwhelmed in California and Alabama as national death toll approaches 100,000

By Bryan Dyne, 23 May 2020

The spike in cases in such divergent areas of the country is another indication that, contrary to official policy, the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is not slowing but increasing.

South America a “new epicenter” of COVID-19 pandemic, WHO warns

By Bill Van Auken, 23 May 2020

The number of new deaths on the continent is surpassing Europe, and Brazil is rapidly overtaking Russia as the country with the second most infections after the US.

Auto companies continue opposition to mass testing as COVID-19 spreads in factories

By Shannon Jones, 23 May 2020

As more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are discovered at auto plants, the drive to restart production is being exposed as a reckless course of action that will inevitably lead to the needless deaths of workers.

Hydroxychloroquine: New scientific study refutes the quack-in-chief

By Benjamin Mateus, 23 May 2020

President Trump claimed this week he had been taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure. His statements demonstrate both ignorance and hostility to science.

Three UK meat processing workers die of COVID-19

By Barry Mason, 23 May 2020

The three died in different sections of Cranswick Convenience Foods factory in Wombwell, Barnsley.

UK Local councils face financial collapse due to pandemic

By Dennis Moore, 23 May 2020

Social care spending could face a shortfall of £3.5 billion, placing up to 225,000 adult social care places at risk in the coming year.

As hundreds across Europe die daily from coronavirus

European Union pushes reopening of beach resorts and hotels for summer holiday season

By Jordan Shilton, 23 May 2020

Piling one lie on another, the EU Commission claimed its guidelines would restore “transport services across the EU while protecting the health of transport workers and passengers.”

Representatives from Germany’s parliamentary parties support far-right protests against coronavirus policies

By Christoph Vandreier, 23 May 2020

The far-right demonstrations in Germany are being used to drum up support for the dangerous policy of easing coronavirus pandemic restrictions and intimidate all opposition.

Widespread opposition to unsafe reopening of schools and day-care facilities in Germany

By Andy Niklaus and Ulrich Rippert, 23 May 2020

Social distancing has been abandoned in schools and no safety measures such as face masks are being provided.

Uber lays off 6,700 white-collar workers as it continues restructuring

By Shuvu Batta, 23 May 2020

Uber has slashed jobs for its white-collar workers while it restructures its business in response to its fall in share values and drop in ride requests.

“The US is prioritizing money above human life”

Detroit, Michigan teacher speaks on public education during the pandemic

By Nancy Hanover, 23 May 2020

Michigan is threatening mass layoffs of teachers and existential cuts to public schools while planning to reopen schools in the fall despite lack of COVID-19 safety measures.

The US opioid crisis in the era of COVID-19

By Katy Kinner, 23 May 2020

According to a report from the American Medical Association, over 20 states have reported an increase in opioid-related mortality since the official declaration of the pandemic.

US Agriculture Department outlines program to aid farmers hit by pandemic

By Alex Findijs, 23 May 2020

The design of the program will inevitably lead to a disproportionate share of funding flowing to large firms.

Sri Lankan government understates COVID-19 figures to recklessly reopen economy

By Naveen Dewage, 23 May 2020

The low number of infections in Sri Lanka is because few COVID-19 tests are being conducted—an average of less than 600 per day between February 18 and May 20.

Australian governments fully reopen schools despite intense opposition

By Erika Zimmer, 23 May 2020

The danger of sending up to a million children back full-time in New South Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic is compounded by the public transport crisis.

New Zealand unions enforce school returns, mass layoffs and wage cuts

By John Braddock, 23 May 2020

Unions are helping to implement deep inroads into jobs, wages and conditions and to ensure the reopening of businesses and schools regardless of safety risks from COVID-19.

Wealth of US billionaires soars as pandemic expands, nearly 40 million unemployed

By Niles Niemuth, 23 May 2020

The class logic at play in the homicidal push to reopen the US economy before the spread of the coronavirus has been controlled is becoming increasingly clear.

Indian police detain thousands of sacked migrant workers; Pakistani health workers demand unpaid wages and allowances

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

23 May 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

US unemployment claims approach 40 million since March

By Niles Niemuth, 22 May 2020

According to some estimates, the real unemployment rate has already hit 22.5 percent, which is nearing levels reached during the depths of the Great Depression in 1933.

UK university team predicts doubling or tripling of US death toll over the next two months

By Benjamin Mateus, 22 May 2020

The Imperial College projection predicts that community transmission of the virus will accelerate in the US over the next two months, with the death toll rising to 2–3 times the current total.

Strikes and protests by Brazilian nurses amid explosion of COVID-19 cases

By Tomas Castanheira, 22 May 2020

Over the last 15 days, there have been dozens of protests and strikes by health care workers across Brazil, as more nurses are dying than anywhere else in the world.

Chilean government violently represses demonstrations against hunger

By Mauricio Saavedra, 22 May 2020

The ultra-right government of Sebastian Piñera has responded to an outbreak of hunger protests across Chile with repression and mass arrests

Georgetown, Kentucky Toyota plant remains open as autoworker tests positive for COVID-19

By George Gallanis, 22 May 2020

In the absence of testing, it is likely that many more infected workers are in the auto plants, unaware that they are carriers.

Further details emerge on the extent of the mid-March financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 22 May 2020

While the Fed has taken limited measures to try to curb some of the riskier activities of the banks that sparked the 2008 crash, the dangers have simply been shifted to other areas of the financial system.

Merkel and Macron’s European bailout: €500 billion for trade war and austerity

By Peter Schwarz, 22 May 2020

Merkel and Macron see the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to strengthen their countries’ position in the world market and reorganise the European economy in the interests of the major corporations.

UK Labour council, Community union reject appeal to close ASOS warehouse after confirmed COVID-19 cases

By Tony Robson, 22 May 2020

The defence of ASOS workers’ lives requires a fight against the veto that such corporations enjoy over workplace safety.

”We want to be back, but not at the costs of people’s lives”

UK teachers speak on government’s back-to-school plan

By our reporters, 22 May 2020

The WSWS spoke with teachers this week about their opposition to the Johnson government’s reopening of schools.

NY Governor Cuomo shields nursing homes from prosecutions related to 5,600 COVID-19 deaths

By Erik Schreiber, 22 May 2020

The Democratic governor simultaneously praised his administration’s response to the pandemic and asserted that “nobody” should be held accountable for the tremendous number of needless deaths.

Nearly 1.5 million health care workers laid off in pandemic-fueled jobs massacre

By Gary Joad, 22 May 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43,000 health care workers lost their jobs in March, while 1.4 million more lost their jobs in April.

The economic impact of the pandemic on young workers in Wayne County, Michigan

By Helen Halyard and Kevin Reed, 22 May 2020

The WSWS spoke with Karissa, 27, about her experiences over the past eight weeks since she and her fiancé lost their jobs when the coronavirus pandemic hit the Detroit area.

New Zealand government stokes tensions with China

By Tom Peters, 22 May 2020

New Zealand, a de facto American ally and member of the US-led Five Eyes intelligence network, is integrated into the anti-China build-up.

Australian unions back pay cuts for fast food workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 May 2020

The attack on some of the lowest-paid workers, on the pretext of the coronavirus pandemic, is a precedent for a broader pro-business restructuring.

Saving Wall Street, not lives

US pandemic cover-up responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands

By Andre Damon, 22 May 2020

On Wednesday, researchers from Columbia University posted a study showing that the massive US death toll, now approaching 100,000, is a direct consequence of decisions made by the Trump administration.

No to the anti-China campaign! For international solidarity against the pandemic and capitalism!

By Joseph Kishore—Socialist Equality Party candidate for president, 22 May 2020

The SEP rejects the chauvinistic attacks by the Trump administration and Democrats aimed at shifting responsibility for the mass death due to the coronavirus pandemic from the American ruling class.

The Trump administration makes Taiwan latest front in anti-China campaign

By Peter Symonds, 21 May 2020

The US has provocatively hailed the re-election of Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen and pressed Taiwan’s case at the annual World Health Organisation (WHO) ministerial assembly.

“We need our jobs, but our lives and health are more important”

COVID-19 cases at Ford plants in Detroit, Chicago as anger grows over inadequate safety measures

By Jessica Goldstein and Jerry White, 21 May 2020

New infections have emerged at Ford plants in Dearborn, Michigan and Chicago and also at supplier plant, just days after the reopening of the North American auto industry.

As COVID-19 spreads throughout southern US

Florida scientist was fired for ‘refusing to manipulate’ COVID-19 data

By Bryan Dyne, 21 May 2020

The state governments of both Florida and Georgia have been charged with manipulating their coronavirus case counts and death tolls in order to prematurely reopen their economies.

“They can more than afford to let us keep it permanently”

Amazon workers react to elimination of pandemic hazard pay

By Douglas Lyons, 21 May 2020

Amazon has terminated its unpaid sick time policy and will roll back the $2 per hour pay raise it implemented during the coronavirus pandemic, despite the rising number of infections.

US prepares anti-Russian war games amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Andrea Peters, 21 May 2020

In a little over two weeks, 6,000 US and Polish troops will simulate ground and airborne attacks about 35 miles from the Russian territory of Kaliningrad.

Pandemic crisis: Tens of thousands of UK job losses announced

By Margot Miller, 21 May 2020

The jobs cull in the UK began in April as firms in retail and hospitality collapsed into administration after the imposition of lockdown, accelerating an already existing trend towards recession.

Education unions and Labour councils ready back-door imposition of Johnson government’s “back to school” plan

By Laura Tiernan, 21 May 2020

The decision to send nursery aged children—including babies and toddlers—and primary-aged students as young as 4, 5 and 6 back into schools was taken solely by Johnson and his cabinet of deranged Thatcherites.

The Berries of Wrath: Prince Charles demands “hard graft” from furloughed workers

By Robert Stevens, 21 May 2020

The Tories have long desired to replace cheap migrant labour with a native workforce so reduced to penury that they too will do backbreaking work for a pittance.

Coronavirus infections surging in German refugee shelters

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 21 May 2020

The forced placement of refugees in large communal accommodation facilities exposes many people whose health is weakened to a deadly risk.

World Health Organisation warns pandemic could “turn the clock back” on other killer diseases in Africa

By Stephan McCoy, 21 May 2020

The WHO has predicted that some quarter of a billion Africans will become infected with COVID-19 and as many as 190,000 will die within the first year of the pandemic.

Brazil records 1,179 COVID-19 deaths in a single day amid spiraling political crisis

By Miguel Andrade, 21 May 2020

Even as it closes ranks behind Bolsonaro’s back-to-work campaign, the Brazilian ruling class is conscious that it is bringing Brazil to the brink of a social explosion.

Deaths and illness among youth raise concerns as schools plan to reopen

By Sam Wayne, 21 May 2020

Several recent deaths of youth and students due to COVID-19 demonstrate that, despite efforts by the media and politicians to downplay the danger of the virus to youth, the virus can pose a deadly threat to young people.

Almost no US prisoners have been released since the beginning of the pandemic

By Sam Dalton, 21 May 2020

Despite highly publicized executive orders, only a handful of inmates have been released from jails and prisons across the US even as 100,000 inmates are projected to die from COVID-19.

Florida stalls jobless pay to force workers back to work

By Alex Johnson, 21 May 2020

The state has only paid out 22 percent of the claims for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada’s official opposition attacks Trudeau for “appeasing” China

By Roger Jordan, 21 May 2020

Conservative leader Scheer’s inflammatory comment, likening the Liberal government’s policy towards Beijing to British imperialism’s attempt to reach an accommodation with Nazi Germany, marks a new high point in the Canadian elite’s frenzied anti-China campaign.

Australian government falsely claims credit for global COVID-19 inquiry

By Mike Head, 21 May 2020

Australia’s push was obviously part of a US drive to demonise China and the World Health Organisation.

COVID-19 pandemic exposes France’s New Anti-capitalist Party

By Alex Lantier, 21 May 2020

The pandemic places workers in every country in irreconcilable conflict with pro-imperialist, middle class parties that the ruling class has long falsely presented as the left.

Ford Chicago Assembly worker tests positive for COVID-19 after North American auto plants reopen

By Shannon Jones, 20 May 2020

The Trump administration is spearheading a campaign to force a return to work, eliminating all pretense of combatting the spread of the coronavirus.

New analysis predicts US coronavirus deaths will triple by end of year

By Bryan Dyne, 20 May 2020

There is evidence that the Florida government, and possibly others, are censoring the data needed to accurately study the development of the pandemic.

Senate hearing for Fed’s Powell, Treasury’s Mnuchin shows bipartisan support for bailout, back-to-work drive

By Barry Grey, 20 May 2020

The prize for sheer demagogy and hypocrisy at the hearing went to Sherrod Brown of Ohio, an economic nationalist and close ally of the trade union bureaucracy.

Food delivery workers call for a national strike in Brazil

By Letícia Silva, 20 May 2020

After a series of strikes internationally, food delivery workers in Brazil are calling for a unified strike on May 30 against cuts in pay rates and unsafe working conditions.

COVID-19 spreads among Ford workers in Turkey

By Ulas Atesci, 20 May 2020

Unsafe and even deadly conditions during the pandemic are an international issue facing workers of every country.

UK: Johnson’s criminal “back-to-work” drive depends on the trade unions

By Chris Marsden and Thomas Scripps, 20 May 2020

The reopening of schools and non-essential workplaces must be opposed until they are made safe.

Letter from UK teaching assistant against reopening of schools

20 May 2020

Sarah, who works in a primary school in south Yorkshire, wrote to the WSWS about the Johnson government’s plans to reopen UK schools from June 1.

Chicago mayor appoints corporate leaders to Economic Recovery Task Force

By Kristina Betinis and Fabian Salgado, 20 May 2020

As deficits mount, the task force appointments place the right-wing, pro-business character of “diversity” and “equity” appointments on full display.

Capitalism vs. science: The lessons of the 36-hour Moderna vaccine frenzy

By Benjamin Mateus, 20 May 2020

It took just 36 hours for the media’s frenzied promotion of a “breakthrough” treatment for the coronavirus to collapse under its own weight.

Hundreds of Mexican maquiladora workers dying after back-to-work orders take effect

By Eric London, 19 May 2020

In Northern Baja California, 432 of the 519 people who have officially died from the virus in the state were maquiladora workers.

Workers angry, concerned as US auto plants reopen

By Jerry White, 19 May 2020

Tens of thousands of workers returned to factories across the US Monday in a major test of the Trump administration’s plans to restart the flow of corporate profits even as the death toll of the pandemic continues to rise.

US health care system devastated by COVID-19 as the markets clamor to reopen the economy

By Benjamin Mateus and Clara Weiss, 19 May 2020

Health care workers throughout the US have been furloughed as health care systems are facing economic devastation caused by the pandemic. A second surge in economically hard-hit areas will confront an equally devasted health care infrastructure.

Millions of Americans, including front-line workers’ families, face loss of employer-sponsored health insurance in pandemic

By Alex Johnson, 19 May 2020

The families of health care workers, first responders and other workers deemed essential who have died from COVID-19 now face the prospect of losing their health coverage due to the cut-off of their loved ones’ employer-sponsored insurance.

The policy of “malign neglect”: How the Russian oligarchy sacrifices the health and lives of the people

By Vladimir Volkov and Clara Weiss, 19 May 2020

The government’s policy of malign neglect has provoked an initial upsurge in opposition from the working class, including Gazprom workers in Yakutia, northern Russia.

US steps up witch hunt against Chinese scientists

By Shuvu Batta, 19 May 2020

The US federal government has arrested researchers and scientists of Chinese descent as part of an accelerated crackdown on alleged participants of China’s “Thousand Talents” program.

NHS management said elderly would “have to die” in care homes

By Robert Stevens and John Stryder, 19 May 2020

Official statistics show that around 10,000 people have died in the UK’s care homes, but the real figure is at least double that.

Mass sackings as German department store group closes up to 80 stores

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 19 May 2020

Germany’s largest department store group, the merged Galeria Kaufhof Karstadt, is to close almost half of its stores.

UK police question suspect in spitting incident that led to rail worker’s death

By Michael Barnes, 19 May 2020

Belly Mujinga’s death produced a horrified reaction among rail workers and an outpouring of sympathy in the working class, but the deranged character of the attack also solicited an outpouring of crocodile tears from those who are ultimately responsible for creating the conditions that led to her death.

As Modi government eases lockdown, coronavirus cases surge in India

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 19 May 2020

Municipal authorities in Mumbai, India’s second largest city, recently announced that due to a lack of hospital beds, they were placing COVID-19 patients on a waiting list for medical treatment.

Amid failure by corporations and governments to repatriate employees

Cruise ship workers take action in defiance of company threats

By Tom Casey, 19 May 2020

Crew members on board the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s (RCCL) Majesty of the Seas staged a protest Friday on the upper deck of the ship, demanding answers from the captain as to when they would be sent home.

US courts revoke emergency protections in coronavirus pandemic

By Trévon Austin, 19 May 2020

Over the past week, the US Supreme Court and the Texas Supreme Court have issued a series of antidemocratic decisions that place countless lives at risk and increase the hardships faced by workers in the coronavirus pandemic.

Petition demanding pandemic hazard pay for UPS workers gains 300,000 signatures

By Erik Schreiber and Kayla Costa, 19 May 2020

The response to the petition demonstrates workers’ willingness to fight, but its appeal to the Teamsters union is a dead end. A genuine struggle for safety requires the formation of independent rank-and-file committees.

US retailer JCPenney to close nearly one-third of department stores, announces bankruptcy

By Jessica Goldstein, 19 May 2020

The decline of traditional “brick and mortar” retail is part of a protracted process which has spanned decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated processes which were already well underway.

Canada: Quebec government advocates hiring children to disinfect daycare centres amid coronavirus pandemic

By Laurent Lafrance, 19 May 2020

Faced with a shortage of childcare staff, Quebec’s CAQ government is advocating their replacement by teenagers as young as 14, thus threatening to expose them to the potentially lethal coronavirus.

New Zealand Labour government promises billions for big business

By John Braddock, 19 May 2020

While handing over billions to big business through the COVID-19 crisis, Labour’s budget boosts the military and prepares a sweeping assault on the social position of the working class.

World health conference dominated by US-China conflict as coronavirus spreads across the globe

By Bill Van Auken, 19 May 2020

Washington sought to turn Monday’s annual conference of the World Health Organization into an arena for its relentless campaign to scapegoat China.

Trump official blames high US coronavirus death toll on the diversity that “unfortunately” exists in the population

By Jacob Crosse, 19 May 2020

The fascistic comment is the latest attempt by the Trump administration to find an excuse for its catastrophic performance in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian Committee for Public Education holds online forum on COVID-19 and the universities crisis

By our correspondent, 19 May 2020

Academics, university professional staff, school teachers, TAFE employees and university students joined a critical discussion.

North American auto industry reopens amid mounting opposition by workers

By Marcus Day, 18 May 2020

Roughly 133,000 workers are expected to return to automotive assembly plants this week.

Growing number of Bangladeshi garment workers infected with COVID-19

By Wimal Perera, 18 May 2020

The government is implementing “herd immunity” policies that could lead to the deaths of tens of thousands.

UK Royal Mail CEO Rico Back forced to resign: Next stage opens in postal workers’ struggle

By Paul Lee and Thomas Scripps, 18 May 2020

Back’s departure marks the beginning of a new offensive of which the Communication Workers Union “discussions” with the company form a crucial part.

Growing resistance in Germany to returning to schools as coronavirus pandemic continues

By Andy Niklaus and Carola Kleinert, 18 May 2020

Resistance is growing among German teachers and pupils against this irresponsible policy, which threatens to turn schools into new hotspots of COVID-19.

The last resort of the EU fighting refugees in Greece—armed force and COVID-19

By Katerina Selin, 18 May 2020

Greek soldiers used tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and live ammunition against refugees stranded in the no-man’s-land between Greece and Turkey.

Spike in Kawasaki-like disease linked to coronavirus in France and Italy, one child dies

By Will Morrow, 18 May 2020

This is a damning indictment of capitalist governments internationally which are reopening schools and asserting that the virus does not harm children.

Modi promotes “herd immunity,” vows “quantum jump” in pro-investor reforms

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 18 May 2020

As the Modi government expands its reckless back-to-work drive, India reported yesterday its biggest daily jump in COVID-19 cases to date.

Even as death toll climbs, Indonesian government urges workers under 45 to resume work

By Owen Howell, 18 May 2020

Indonesian epidemiologists have warned that a return to work will dramatically increase transmission of the virus and put the entire population, regardless of age, at extreme risk.