The coronavirus pandemic

Bailed-out US airlines escalate attack on jobs

By Jacob Crosse, 1 October 2020

After receiving billions in grants, no-interest loans and Fed bond purchases through the bipartisan CARES Act, major US airlines and aerospace companies are moving forward with tens of thousands of layoffs.

The deadly outcome of school reopenings:

Four US school employees and two college students killed by COVID-19 this week

By Renae Cassimeda, 1 October 2020

At least 30 school teachers and staff have died from COVID-19 since late July, when schools began to reopen en masse, sending millions back into unsafe classrooms across the US.

700 Greek schools occupied by students protesting unsafe return to classes

By Robert Stevens and John Vassilopoulos, 30 September 2020

Given that it is mainly secondary education impacted, more than one in five of the country’s 3,168 high schools have been occupied.

Coronavirus surges across US Midwest

By Bryan Dyne, 30 September 2020

The sharpest rise in new cases is in Wisconsin, where nearly one in five of those tested for the coronavirus tests positive.

Desperation swells among millions of unemployed in the US as layoffs mount and aid dries up

By Jacob Crosse, 30 September 2020

Audits conducted within the last month in California, Wisconsin, Florida and Nevada reveal that millions of calls to unemployment agencies have gone unanswered.

Zambia seeks suspension of debt service payments in Africa’s first pandemic-related default

By Stephan McCoy, 30 September 2020

The threat of the continent’s first COVID-related default testifies to the scale of the economic disaster affecting much of sub-Saharan Africa.

With one million dead, governments abandon efforts to contain COVID-19 pandemic

By Andre Damon, 30 September 2020

The fall and winter months in America and Europe are expected to bring a major resurgence of the disease.

Duterte extends Philippines “state of calamity” as pandemic worsens

By Owen Howell, 30 September 2020

The government is ramping up state repression as the country suffers its worst economic contraction in decades.

New York City resumes in-person schools as COVID-19 infections continue to rise

By Alberto Escalera, 29 September 2020

The reopening of the nation’s largest school district threatens to produce a catastrophe in a city where nearly 25,000 have already succumbed to the deadly virus.

Teacher protests surge in Southern California as schools reopen

By Kimie Saito and Marc Wells, 29 September 2020

In Orange County, California, educators in at least four school districts are taking part in courageous protests against returning to work under unsafe conditions in defiance of their own unions’ recommendations.

More than 2,000 schools in UK hit by COVID-19 outbreaks as thousands of children and staff sent home

By Tom Pearce, 29 September 2020

Thousands of children are being sent home to self-isolate, in some cases to isolate with vulnerable parents.

London bus drivers challenge Metroline over new COVID-19 infections at Cricklewood garage

By our reporters, 29 September 2020

Drivers are calling for urgent safety measures to prevent the further spread of infection. Their open letter to Metroline is published in full.

Sri Lankan government lies exposed as new COVID-19 infections emerge

By Pradeep Ramanayaka, 29 September 2020

Despite the Rajapakse government’s boasting that it has curbed the pandemic, the working class is confronted with the threat that the virus could rapidly spread at any moment.

Socialist Equality Party (Australia) holds online health workers’ forum

By our reporter, 29 September 2020

Australian health workers speak out over the lack of PPE and proper training to deal with COVID-19, and the government’s run-down of the healthcare system.

Hyundai union enforces wage freeze in latest South Korean sellout

By Ben McGrath, 29 September 2020

The Hyundai contract is part of a growing assault on auto workers by big business with the aid of the trade unions.

The world has reached the grim milestone of one million COVID-19 deaths

By Benjamin Mateus, 28 September 2020

With some 33 million infected out of nearly eight billion people, “herd immunity” remains a distant prospect and winter could bring conditions for a rapid resurgence of the pandemic.

US governors told in February that pandemic would get “much worse,” but did not alert public

By Kevin Reed, 28 September 2020

In a secret meeting, 25 US governors were told: “The coronavirus outbreak is going to get much, much worse before it gets better.”

Michigan State University pushes forward with football amid a mass spike in COVID-19 cases

By Luke Galvin, 28 September 2020

Since August 24, there have been 1,250 cases of COVID-19 linked to the reopening of the university.

Youth protests over COVID-19 mount in working-class districts of Madrid

By Alejandro López, 28 September 2020

Madrid is the epicentre of the resurgence of COVID-19 in Spain, now the worst-hit country in Western Europe, with 51 dying last Friday alone.

“State of Emergency” declared in three states as protests continue over cover-up of Breonna Taylor slaying

By Jacob Crosse, 26 September 2020

Courageous multiracial demonstrators continue to defy curfews, police rampages and vehicle assaults in cities across the US to protest the state-sanctioned murder.

Brazilian educators call strikes against homicidal reopening of schools

By Tomas Castanheira, 26 September 2020

The efforts of Brazil’s ruling elite to reopen schools amid the catastrophic spread of COVID-19 are being met with a growing wave of resistance.

Spain’s PSOE-Podemos government assaults protests vs. herd immunity policy

By Alejandro López, 26 September 2020

As 7,500 army troops deploy to Madrid amid a Europe-wide resurgence of COVID-19, this crackdown is a threat aimed at the entire working class.

New bailout for UK corporations as COVID-19 infections rocket

By Robert Stevens, 26 September 2020

Chancellor Sunak’s announcement was unveiled outside his office in Downing Street, flanked by Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O'Grady and Confederation of British Industry Director General Dame Carolyn Fairbairn.

Thousands at UK universities infected with coronavirus as new term opens

By Simon Whelan and Barry Mason, 26 September 2020

The former regional director for public health in northwest England, Professor John Ashton, said it was “almost inevitable” that the return of students would lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Record growth of COVID-19 infections in Eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 26 September 2020

The numbers of new COVID-19 infections in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary are breaking previous records.

Detroit students stage sickout in opposition to the district’s back-to-school plan

By Genevieve Leigh, 26 September 2020

While the demands laid out by the students are limited to immediate measures, there is no doubt that they are motivated by much broader issues.

“Everyone I work with thinks that it is absurd to put us all in harm’s way”

Tennessee parents and educators speak out against unsafe school openings

By the World Socialist Web Site Educators Newsletter, 26 September 2020

The teachers and parents often shared similar complaints about the unsafe conditions in schools and pressure to accept the reopening policies.

US college football season set to begin early November

By Andy Thompson, 26 September 2020

After an earlier decision to postpone the season, the Pac-12 football conference has announced games will begin November 6th.

Canadian PM Trudeau provides political cover for criminal back-to-work drive

By Roger Jordan, 26 September 2020

The Liberal government is determined to “reopen” the economy, even as it concedes that Canada is in the midst of a “second wave” of the pandemic that threatens to be worse than last spring.

Metropolitan Opera announces cancellation of entire 2020–2021 season

By Fred Mazelis, 26 September 2020

Management is demanding major concessions from its musicians, who have been furloughed without pay since March.

Student protests against herd immunity policy spread across Greece

By Alex Lantier, 25 September 2020

High school students marched in Athens and Thessaloniki Thursday as occupations of high schools and strikes by doctors, port workers and airline workers spread.

Social distress mounts in the US as new weekly jobless claims rise to 870,000

By Shannon Jones, 25 September 2020

The number of active unemployment claims, 24.1 million in total, far surpasses anything seen during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

Brown University study used to downplay spread of coronavirus in US schools

By Bryan Dyne, 25 September 2020

While seeking to minimize the impact of school reopenings on the spread of the virus, the study implies that some 18,600 teachers and 115,000 students have already been infected with COVID-19.

Four Texas universities report over 1,000 COVID-19 cases each

By Chase Lawrence, 25 September 2020

A surge in COVID-19 cases in Lubbock and Brazos counties coincided with the start of fall semester at Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University which are located in those respective counties.

Report demolishes government claims that reopening UK schools reflects concern for disadvantaged children

By Margot Miller, 25 September 2020

The education of poorer children is of as little concern for the Johnson government as the health of the working class.

Hollywood unions ratify return to work agreement dictated by giant corporations

By Marc Wells, 25 September 2020

After months of negotiations behind closed doors, the Hollywood unions reached a return-to-work agreement that will expose entertainment industry workers to the COVID-19 contagion as television and film production resumes.

Australian health workers still being denied adequate PPE

By Clare Bruderlin, 25 September 2020

Nothing has been done to boost protection for health workers, meaning that further mass outbreaks of COVID-19 are all but inevitable.

SEIU and Illinois Nurses Association announce tentative agreements with University of Illinois at Chicago

By James Martin and Marcus Day, 25 September 2020

Simultaneously with the announcement of the deal, SEIU 73 shut down the 10-day strike by 4,000 university workers without releasing the full details of the agreement.

For a general strike to halt the resurgence of COVID-19 in Europe!

By Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Germany), Socialist Equality Party (UK), Parti de l’égalité socialiste (France) and Sosyalist Eşitlik (Turkey), 25 September 2020

The insistence of European governments on fully reopening schools, workplaces and public gathering places has paved the way for a devastating resurgence of the virus.

Germany’s school openings throw fuel onto the pandemic’s fire

By Marianne Arens, 24 September 2020

Only five of the almost 300 German administrative districts currently report no new infections, as the number of people with COVID-19 rises rapidly.

Iran: Reopening of schools fuels resurgence of coronavirus

By Jean Shaoul, 24 September 2020

According to Iran’s health minister, as of August 22, at least 164 medical workers had lost their lives fighting the pandemic.

The Senate holds a COVID-19 hearing as US tops 200,000 COVID-19 deaths

By Benjamin Mateus, 24 September 2020

The number of individuals infected with COVID-19 is now more than 32 million globally, of which almost one million have perished.

“Lear is hell”: Workers speak out as COVID-19 outbreak at Indiana auto parts plant worsens

By Marcus Day, 24 September 2020

The WSWS recently spoke with two workers from Lear’s Hammond, Indiana, plant who had tested positive for COVID-19.

A twenty-year-old student dies from COVID-19 at California University of Pennsylvania

By Samuel Davidson, 24 September 2020

California University of Pennsylvania student Jamain Stephens Jr. died September 9 from a blood clot in his heart after he contracted COVID-19.

Las Vegas health reports detail spread of COVID-19 in casinos

By Adam Mclean, 24 September 2020

The vast majority of exposures in the Las Vegas area, where over 1,350 people have already died, occurred in casinos and resort hotels.

UK: Labour schools spokesperson confirms bi-partisan “malign neglect” policy on COVID-19

By Julie Hyland, 24 September 2020

Remarks by Labour Party education spokesperson Kate Green and the panicked response of her frontbench colleagues have underscored the policy of “malign neglect” shared by Tory and Labour alike on COVID-19.

India’s health minister downplays raging pandemic to conceal ruling elite’s criminal “herd immunity” policy

By Saman Gunadasa, 24 September 2020

With the economy now largely reopened, the government has placed all responsibility for containing the virus onto working people.

The CDC retracts its guidance that stipulated the airborne danger of the coronavirus

By Benjamin Mateus, 23 September 2020

Though the CDC said it had erroneously published the unvetted draft, the political fallout faced by the CDC suggests it was a political maneuver to save face.

Hundreds of Kenosha, Wisconsin teachers call in sick to force schools to close

By Renae Cassimeda and Evan Blake, 23 September 2020

Starting Monday, 276 Kenosha teachers engaged in a sickout strike in opposition to increasing COVID-19 outbreaks and deadly conditions in the school district.

Johnson’s bogus agenda for combating the escalating pandemic will cost tens of thousands of lives in UK

By Chris Marsden, 23 September 2020

After Johnson’s health advisers announced there would be 50,000 cases a day by mid-October and 200 deaths a day by November without government action, his measures read like a cruel joke.

Students occupy schools across Greece to protest unsafe return to classrooms

By Robert Stevens, 23 September 2020

Anger is erupting among youth in Greece at being forced back to school amid a raging pandemic of COVID-19.

UK Educators Rank-and-File Committee holds second meeting

By our reporters, 23 September 2020

The aim of meeting was to call on educators, students and parents to join and build rank-and-file committees “in your workplace, college or campus and communities.”

National Education Union letter to Boris Johnson: A total surrender to herd immunity

By Tania Kent, 23 September 2020

From the outset of the pandemic, the NEU has blocked all moves to combat the deadly consequences of the government’s handling of the virus.

Massachusetts education commissioner demands “low-risk” districts resume in-person learning

By Will McCallis, 23 September 2020

The letter warns that non-compliance with the “school reopening guidance" will be met with a potential loss of state funds.

Strike by 4,000 service workers at University of Illinois at Chicago enters its second week

By Andy Thompson and Fabian Salgado, 23 September 2020

To oppose the sellout being prepared, striking hospital workers must follow the examples of auto workers and educators by forming rank-and-file committees.

Brazil’s mayoral elections expose major parties’ rightward lurch

By Miguel Andrade, 23 September 2020

The Brazilian ruling class is attempting to use the elections to channel the massive opposition to Bolsonaro behind “national unity” and the military.

Trump on coronavirus pandemic: “Virtually nobody” affected

By Joseph Kishore—SEP candidate for US President, 23 September 2020

The indifference expressed by Trump to death on a mass scale expresses not only his personal outlook but the social policy of the ruling class.

Form independent rank-and-file safety committees to oppose the deadly reopening of schools!

By the Sosyalist Eşitlik, 23 September 2020

The Turkish government is overseeing the resumption of in-person teaching amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with the support of bourgeois opposition parties and trade unions.

The global campaign to reopen schools drives COVID-19 deaths past one million

By Genevieve Leigh, 22 September 2020

Underlying the reckless drive to reopen schools is a broader policy of “herd immunity” adopted by every major capitalist country around the world.

Johnson government says UK COVID-19 infections could hit 50,000 per day as pandemic spins “out of control”

By Robert Stevens, 22 September 2020

Chief Scientific Officer Sir Patrick Vallance, an early advocate of a “herd immunity” strategy, conceded that only an estimated 8 percent of the population had been infected and that the majority of the population remain susceptible.

Whistle-blowers speak out as German authorities cover up coronavirus cases at schools and day-care centres

By Martin Nowak and Gregor Link, 22 September 2020

Despite hundreds of teaching and care facilities being infected, school and health authorities, as well as the federal and state governments, with the support of the trade unions, are doing everything in their power to continue reopening schools.

Spike in Canada’s COVID-19 infections exposes criminality of back-to-work, back-to-school drive

By Roger Jordan, 22 September 2020

The dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases is the direct outcome of the ruling elite’s criminal back-to-work and back-to-school policies, which are aimed at guaranteeing corporate profits regardless of the cost in human lives.

Youth in the US most likely to be low-paid ‘essential’ workers

By Melody Isley, 22 September 2020

Adding insult to injury, students, many of whom who are frontline workers and therefore unable to escape exposure, are being blamed for the explosion of cases on college campuses.

Opposition mounts at the University of Michigan as COVID-19 outbreaks emerge on campus

By Jesse Thomas, 22 September 2020

The possibility that the university administration delayed the public announcement of the cases until after the strike was officially smothered cannot be discounted.

COVID-19: French NPA’s Révolution Permanente web site lines up with Macron’s school re-opening

By Anthony Torres, 22 September 2020

Factions of France’s New Anti-capitalist Party linked to Argentina’s Socialist Workers Party (PTS) tacitly back a return to school endangering millions.

San Diego County seeks to exclude university outbreaks to undercount coronavirus cases

By Melody Isley, 21 September 2020

As COVID-19 cases skyrocket, San Diego County supervisors are lobbying to artificially lower case numbers by excluding the recent outbreak at San Diego State University.

Strike by 4,000 University of Illinois at Chicago workers reaching critical juncture

By Jessica Goldstein, 21 September 2020

The only way for service workers and nurses at UIC and UIH to combat poverty wages and the threat of the pandemic is to take their struggle into their own hands.

SEIU calls off health care strike in Minnesota after Allina hospital system threatens legal action

By Jonas Boquist, 21 September 2020

The cancellation of the strike comes as 4,000 workers at the University of Illinois at Chicago in SEIU Local 73 remain on picket lines in Chicago, Peoria, Rockford and Urbana.

Dry weather continues to fuel historic wildfires in California, rains bring new dangers to Pacific Northwest

By Kevin Martinez, 21 September 2020

While fires continue to burn, destroying homes and displacing thousands, the Democrats and Republicans each seek to pass the blame onto each other.

Los Angeles educators form rank-and-file safety committee to oppose unsafe school reopening

By the Los Angeles Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 21 September 2020

The Los Angeles Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee has been established to protect the district’s students, teachers and staff from the deadly virus.

UK firms awarded billions in NHS/government contracts amid failure of COVID-19 testing system

By Julie Hyland, 21 September 2020

The largest intended privatisation is the £100 billion-plus expansion of the national coronavirus testing programme “Operation Moonshot.”

Lufthansa prepares to double job cuts to nearly 40,000

By Gustav Kemper, 21 September 2020

Lufthansa is considering reducing its current workforce by about 30 percent or almost twice as many as the German airline announced at the end of June.

As COVID-19 deaths approach one million

WHO condemns governments’ failure to prepare for pandemic

By Bryan Dyne, 21 September 2020

The pandemic has exposed the contradiction between the highly integrated nature of modern society and the outmoded and irrational nation-state system of capitalism.

Jacobin magazine embraces Trump administration’s murderous “herd immunity” policy

By Andre Damon, 21 September 2020

On Saturday, Jacobin magazine published an extended interview with anti-lockdown activist Martin Kulldorff, who demanded that “schools and universities should reopen” because “young, healthy people contribute to…herd immunity.”

Catastrophic wildfires, corporate air pollution, and COVID-19: A collision of crises

By Henry Hakamaki, 21 September 2020

The EPA loosened air pollution limits at the very time that coronavirus was becoming pandemic in the United States.

Casualties of “herd immunity”: Three new teacher deaths in one week as US schools reopen

By Genevieve Leigh, 19 September 2020

The deaths are a direct result of the criminal actions by Democratic and Republican governors, as well as the Trump administration.

As American Federation of Teachers shuts down UM graduate student strike

Campuses across Michigan see dramatic spike in cases

By Joseph Lorenz, 19 September 2020

The decision to open campuses is part of the drive by governments everywhere in line with so-called "herd immunity" policies.

Johnson government opposes national lockdown despite exponential rise in UK coronavirus cases

By Robert Stevens, 19 September 2020

It is just 77 days since the Johnson government recklessly reopened the economy on July 1, in the middle of a pandemic. By next Tuesday at least 13 million people will be in lockdown.

SUNY-Oswego forced into temporary shutdown of in-person instruction after spike in COVID-19 cases

By Alex Findijs, 19 September 2020

The campus in upstate New York is the second state university to be forced into a temporary shutdown this month due to the spread of COVID-19 cases.

Ford Kansas City Assembly workers launch Rank-and-File Safety Committee to save lives

By the Ford Kansas City Assembly Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 19 September 2020

Neither the UAW nor Ford has addressed any of the safety issues inside the Kansas City Assembly plant since production restarted in May.

“This district is not ready at all”

Teacher in Vancouver, Washington speaks out on school reopenings amid wildfires

By Evan Winters, 19 September 2020

Despite weeks of unhealthy wildfire-fueled air quality, the Evergreen School District is preparing to reopen elementary schools for partial in-person learning.

Union shuts down nurses strike at University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago

By George Gallanis and Fabian Salgado, 19 September 2020

The Illinois Nurses Association ended the strike without a new contract and isolating 4,000 staffers on the picket line.

Dominion grocery workers in Newfoundland in fourth week of strike for higher pay

By Carl Bronski, 19 September 2020

The 1,400 low-paid workers remain on strike against the Newfoundland subsidiary of Loblaws, Canada’s largest supermarket chain.

Australian jobs figures show acceleration of “gig economy”

By Mike Head, 19 September 2020

Governments and employers are exploiting the mass unemployment triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic to bludgeon workers onto reduced wages and conditions.

Toots Hibbert, ska and reggae giant: “Right now, someone else has that number”

By Paul Bond, 19 September 2020

Hibbert was widely respected and liked as a person, as well as admired for his work. That he was one of the most important international ambassadors for reggae owed much to his personal integrity.

World Health Organization warns of “alarming” resurgence of COVID-19 in Europe

By Alex Lantier, 18 September 2020

With over 300,000 weekly infections, European authorities are now confirming more COVID-19 cases each week than they did prior to the lockdowns this spring.

Myanmar sees major coronavirus outbreak after a month of zero cases

By Owen Howell, 18 September 2020

The military-dominated government, fronted by Aung San Suu Kyi, is continuing its campaign of repression in the western state of Rakhine, under conditions of rapid COVID-19 transmission.

Brazilian teachers call strikes against back-to-school drive

By Tomas Castanheira, 18 September 2020

Brazil’s fascistic President Bolsonaro declared: “We are the country with the highest number of days of lockdown of schools. This is absurd.”

Boston-area colleges and universities report COVID cases and outbreaks despite testing programs

By Andrew Timon and Will McCalliss, 18 September 2020

Colleges and universities across the Greater Boston area have made the reckless, profit-driven decision to reopen their campuses, endangering the lives of not only university students, faculty and staff, but area residents.

New York City Democratic mayor delays school opening a second time

By our reporters, 18 September 2020

Bill de Blasio, the “progressive” mayor of New York City, announced a new date for a ‘’phased reopening” of the city’s public schools.

COVID-19 “long-haulers” publish patient-led research paper drawing attention to chronic illness

By Katy Kinner, 18 September 2020

COVID-19 survivors who continue to experience symptoms weeks to months after initial infection have organized themselves online, seeking to understand the phenomenon of their extended illness.

Missouri among top five US states with COVID-19 infections

By Cole Michaels, 18 September 2020

This week Missouri saw 100,000 coronavirus cases and a recent spike of infections and deaths, including in rural counties.

New York yellow cab drivers block bridges to demand debt relief

By Shuvu Batta, 18 September 2020

Battered by crippling debt and collapsing demand for taxis, drivers staged a protest Thursday calling for relief from their enormous debt burden

Network of Action Committees for Safe Education holds first online meeting

Stop the dangerous “routine operation” of schools in Germany! Prepare a nationwide general strike!

By our reporters, 18 September 2020

In his report to the meeting, SGP deputy leader Christoph Vandreier noted that infections have already been reported at over 1,000 schools and 300 childcare facilities across Germany.

OSHA fines meatpacking industry $30,000 after 203 COVID-19 deaths and 18,000 infections

By Cordell Gascoigne, 18 September 2020

The two fines amount to less than $2,500 for each worker who died at the JBS and Smithfield plants in Colorado and South Dakota

Washington D.C. transit system announces budget cuts and layoffs due to ridership drop off amid pandemic

By Harvey Simpkins, 18 September 2020

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has seen a nearly 90 percent ridership drop-off since the beginning of the pandemic.

Over one million UK children kept off school in face of government threats and propaganda

By Harvey Thompson and Tania Kent, 18 September 2020

By Thursday evening, 1,118 schools had been hit by coronavirus infections, forcing many to close partially or fully.

Oppose the unsafe reopening of UK schools and universities! Attend Online Educators Rank-and-File Committee meeting

18 September 2020

We urge educators and students in Britain to register and participate in the online forum being held on Saturday, September 19 at 2 p.m.

British government and universities pursue reckless return to higher education under pandemic conditions

By Simon Whelan, 18 September 2020

Students now face a limit on socialising under the government’s arbitrary limiting of gatherings to six, yet can go to work and to campuses.

New Zealand: Auckland University backs away from resuming classes after mass student opposition

By John Braddock, 18 September 2020

More than 10,000 Auckland University students have signed petitions opposing the resumption of lectures and classes amid ongoing community transmission of COVID-19.