Corporate virus ‘news’ and capitalist irrationality

Protest car caravan by teachers in Howard County, Md., against officials’ plan to resume in-person classes, Feb. 17.

On any random day in February, you can visit the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and local media from Los Angeles to Chicago, and see several stories side by side:

  1. Schools should be reopened immediately, even before teachers and other school workers are vaccinated. So say the cherry-picked “experts” and President Joe Biden’s new CDC director, echoing Democratic mayors and governors, as well as the Republicans.
  2. Governors are relaxing restrictions around the country on indoor dining, gyms, etc., as there is some decline in new COVID-19 cases, though the rate of infections and deaths is still far above what it was last summer and fall.
  3. There are several new, more infectious variants of the virus spreading abroad that have started to reach the U.S., as well as possible U.S. variants. Experts say a “perfect storm” of new infections is brewing — some of which may be more dangerous to children. People should start to double mask and be extra cautious about maintaining social distancing.

There is no effort by the champions of corporate journalism to reconcile these glaring contradictions, which replicate almost exactly the situation under Donald Trump with a shiny new Biden sheen. (What it really means is more pressure on unions and communities to conform with Wall Street’s wishes now that the country’s top office holders are Democrats, even though they are just continuing Trump-era policies.)

Instead of doubling down on safety and providing for the needs of the population until the original virus and new variants are safely contained — as has been successfully done in socialist countries like China and Vietnam — the first dip in infections brings a mad dash to reopen businesses and force more workers into unsafe (and potentially deadly) conditions. 

This is the irrationality of capitalism writ large. 488,000+ deaths in the U.S. and climbing.