Congress to pandemic-pummeled planet: “DROP DEAD” 

PROMINENT VOICES OF COVID PROTEST CONGRESSIONAL COLLAPSE, DEMAND ACTION 

Virtual protest recording date: Wednesday, March 9th | 12pm ET 

[Washington DC] Just before the second anniversary of COVID, prominent COVID movement leaders protested the collapse of a bipartisan COVID supplemental relief deal in Congress, and demanded action to fund global vaccinations and to prevent future pandemics. 

With hundreds of supporters viewing, the activists recorded one hour of emotional quotes and analysis from leaders personally impacted by COVID, representing hundreds of thousands of people nationwide from from Right to Health Action, Marked by COVID, COVID-19 Long-Haulers Outreach, and COVID-19 Loss Support for Family & Friends. The speakers can be contacted for a reaction to the collapse of a $15 billion emergency supplemental in Congress today - a failure in the House of Representatives that unfolded just hours after these fierce women pled for Congressional action.

"Congress demonstrated is has learned absolutely nothing from two years of COVID and one million deaths in America," said Dr. Tulika Singh, from Right to Health Action. "There will be consequences from this shortsighted failure. Most importantly, millions more will die the longer we delay vaccine sharing. But also, there will be accountability on the campaign trail for those responsible for the collapse of this bipartisan deal. Nine million of us who have lost loved ones and the millions more older voters and immune-compromised people being left behind cannot 'move on' or 'get back to normal'. We will remember what our elected officials did this week, and follow up with direct actions during the midterms."

"Congress behaved as if we are already done with COVID," continued Dr. Singh, who lost her grandmother. "But a new, more contagious variant is already surging worldwide, in India and UK, and amounting to more than 11% of the cases in America as of March 5th. Hong Kong is facing lockdown today, with overflowing hospitals and morgues.”

"The decision to reject global vaccination funding is a decision for another year of worldwide pandemic," said Dr. Singh. "Voters have COVID incompetence fatigue, and will hold our leader to the fire for this.” 

This week began with the six millionth COVID death worldwide, and will also include March 11th-the grim second anniversary of WHO’s determination that COVID-19 is a global pandemic. While the nation nears one million Americans killed by COVID, March 11th will also be the deadline for Congress to pass a five-month-overdue budget for fiscal year 2022. Yet even the hard fought $5 billion for global vaccines included in the omnibus–only one quarter of what is needed, according to USAID–was too much for Congress to appropriate. 

On Wednesday, March 9th, well known activists and emerging movement leaders shared their personal stories of loss, anger, and made urgent pleas for Congress to include supplemental funds for global vaccines, domestic COVID response, and pandemic prevention worldwide in this week’s omnibus spending vote. The activists pledged to be a presence on the campaign trail in the months ahead, putting MOCs and candidates on the spot with tough questions that hold them accountable for today’s murderous collapse.

Sabila Khan, co-founder of COVID-19 Loss Support for Family & Friends, shares, “I am doing this work in honor of my father, Shafqat Khan. With our nation's rush towards ‘normal,’ he, like so many millions around the world who died terrible and traumatic deaths, is being pushed aside as an inconvenient statistic. I won't rest until we recenter the COVID conversation around the heartbreaking human toll of this virus and especially around those communities it has disproportionately impacted: BIPOC, the elderly, the poor, chronically ill, and disabled.” 

SPEAKERS IN THE RECORDING: Activists who have lost loved ones, are struggling with long term effects of COVID, or are doctors treating COVID patients at the front-line will share their personal stories of pain, honor the memories of their lost loved ones, and call on Congress to take bold, immediate action to combat the pandemic. 

  • Kristin Urquiza, Founder, Marked By COVID, whose father was killed by COVID after trusting AZ Governor Ducey’s claim that it was “safe to resume normal activities”.  Kristin gave a fiery call to action in prime-time during the Democratic National Convention. CONTACT: kristin@markedbycovid.com

  • Sabila Khan, co-founded COVID-19 Loss Support for Family & Friends – the largest collection of COVID bereaved in the world--four days after losing her community activist father, Shafqat Khan, to the virus in April 2020. She has since lost three more family members. CONTACT: sabilarasulkhan@gmail.com

  • Dr. Tulika Singh, PhD, MPH, public health scientist developing vaccines for emerging infections at UC Berkeley who lost her grandmother to COVID-19 in India in October 2020. R2H Action. CONTACT: tulika.singh@r2haction.org

  • Dr. Hannah Lichtsinn, internist and pediatrician in Minneapolis, MN and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and R2H Action member. CONTACT: hshacter@gmail.com

  • Janeth Nuñez del Prado, a social worker in Albuquerque and regional leader for Marked By COVID, whose father died in Bolivia days before traveling to the USA for a vaccine in May 2021. CONTACT: jnunezdelprado@gmail.com

  • Giovanna Braganza, MPH, a public health policy researcher and R2H Action State Captain from New York, NY, will be sharing the story of her immigrant father who was lost to COVID-19 in April 2020. CONTACT: 

  • Amanda Finley, a COVID survivor who still experiences negative health effects, and founder of COVID-19 Long-Haulers Outreach. CONTACT: Amanda@covidlonghaulers.global

  • Erika Mckibben, R2Her and domestic violence outreach advocate and health activist from Atlanta, GA, will be moderating and sharing the story of her father who was lost to COVID-19 in April 2020. CONTACT: mckibben666@gmail.com

WHY: Activists called for at least $17 billion in emergency funds for global vaccines and $850 million for a global fund for pandemic prevention in the March 11th appropriations package – $12.85 billion more than the $5 billion sum for global vaccines that ultimately failed.

Right to Health Action, along with coalition partners, has been fighting for a global fund for pandemics for the last two years. 120 members of Congress joined us to urge the White House to provide $2 billion in seed funding for a global pandemic prevention fund in a bipartisan letter. 80 members of Congress already asked appropriators for $17 billion for global vaccines, in addition to a bipartisan letter addressed to President Biden sent by 14 Senators urging action to vaccinate the world. The activists will also speak in favor of the domestic funds needed to respond, rebuild and prepare included in the President’s emergency supplemental request.

 

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 FAILURE on global vaccines on 2nd anniversary of WHO pandemic declaration