Pandemic deaths among pregnant Americans are now 'surging'

Pandemic deaths among pregnant Americans are now 'surging'
Image via Shutterstock.

You can chalk up more deaths for the "pro-life" crowd: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that COVID-19 is now claiming the lives of more pregnant Americans and resulting in more stillbirths. Poynter reports that deaths in pregnancy "rose sharply" in the last two months, and that 40% of such pandemic deaths have happened since August, when delta began surging in the United States.

Pregnant people have an increased risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms due to poorer immune responses and other factors, and the CDC is urging those who are pregnant or are planning pregnancy to get vaccinated immediately.

That 40% of such deaths have happened just since August is telling, because by August vaccines against COVID-19 were already widely available and the United States was well on its way to getting the population fully vaccinated. But it also marked a new surge of COVID-19 cases based, once again, in Republican-voting states and counties where pandemic safety measures like masking, social distancing, and vaccinations have been mocked or intentionally blocked by state and local Republican leaders. Those Republicans followed Donald Trump in claiming that the pandemic would not be serious, that it would lead to few deaths, and that his administration's inaction was therefore not just forgivable but noble. The party has since made resistance to pandemic safety measures a core "culture war"-style issue.

Notably, pro-Trump and anti-vaccine protesters have taken to mocking abortion rights protesters with anti-vaccine signs reading "my body, my choice" or variations.

What all of this means, then, is that the self-absorbed and virulently cruel Republican base is now murdering pregnant Americans and causing a new wave of stillborn births because, as a culture war issue, they are unwilling to wear a strip of cloth over their noses or be vaccinated against the pandemic that has already killed 800,000 Americans. This is a very mean way to phrase it, to be sure, but it is absolutely true. Every nonmasking bully who believes that "freedom" requires them to ignore and belittle safety measures is responsible for spreading a virus that is causing these deaths; you need not worry about their feelings because none of them, to a person, gives a damn that their selfishness and paranoia is killing those around them.

We know this because they all insist upon it. We know this because the professional "Republican" class defends their point of view on television and in print, declaring that Americans are tired of all this talk about masks and vaccines and are demanding a return to normalcy even if it kills either them or neighbors they may or may not even know. The "freedom" to not wear a mask during a pandemic is more important than the lives of the vulnerable, we are repeatedly and insistently told; that pregnant Americans are more vulnerable is not mentioned because not a single damn person cares.

This is the newest Republican Party and Fox News legacy. Tucker Carlson and Ron DeSantis have a new class of victims, and they do not care. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his muddle of Texas theocrats have done their level best to escalate the dangers associated with pregnancy at every turn, either claiming a religious mandate to do so (by dictating the forms of health care available) or an ideological mandate to do so (by sabotaging the pandemic safety measures of others).

There are no "pro-life" Republicans. Not a one. No American would continue to associate themselves with Republicans after the party made we do not care how many die a campaign plank, or made conspiracy theories and disinformation about masks and vaccines into a new political "wedge" intended to keep their base angry and suspicious and as ignorant as can be mustered.

The Republican Party has caused a new wave of pandemic deaths—a new surge that, county-by-county data shows, could have been far more controllable if Republican blusterers had the bare human decency of their Democratic neighbors—and they are responsible. The nonmaskers are responsible. Those spreading vaccine conspiracy theories are responsible. The Murdoch family is responsible. The Republican National Committee, now fully comprising pro-Trump sycophants willing to support anything from attempted coup to widespread corruption to a million pandemic deaths, should be ponying up the funeral costs.

Being angry about this is not a sin. Not being angry about this, however, is. We are seeing the transformation of nationwide pandemic into something that disproportionately kills Fox News viewers—and anyone they come into contact with. It has killed 1% of all the seniors in the country. Would-be parents are losing their babies and their lives and as we speak around the country. Angry but hollow-headed fascists are marching into stores and restaurants and demanding that everyone around them respect their "right" to spread a plague in service to Dear Bungling Leader and his aspiring minions.

And even those people are victims, because it may not ever have even dawned on many of them to turn a national emergency into an ode to the rights of sociopaths if their very rich "conservative" heroes had not decided that manslaughter could be turned into a new party identity.

If someone tells you they are "pro-life," they are a liar. The term has become one used exclusively by sociopaths to justify claims that whatever tics are rolling around inside their own brains are so unfathomably important that abiding by them is worth killing others. American conservatism has been erased and replaced with a fascist shudder that glorifies murder in all its forms. Use a gun to kill, become a new fascist hero. Refuse to abide the safety measures meant to keep the country's "essential workers" a bit safer and the hospitals less overrun—you will be praised as a new fascist patriot. Kill a pregnant would-be mother because you would not wear a mask while passing her in a supermarket aisle during a pandemic, and Republicans everywhere will celebrate how boldly you stuck to your own principles, no matter who else died because of it.


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