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As of March 15, over 965,000 Americans have died of COVID19. That’s according to the official count. But it’s almost certainly an undercount. If you go by the CDC’s reckoning of excess deaths that could be attributed to COVID, another 500,000 deaths would be added to the official toll.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has been very good for the nation’s billionaires, who have increased their already astronomical wealth by 70%. They’ve collectively accrued an extra $2.1 trillion in a little more than a year, according to a report from October 2021. And the profits of pharmaceutical company and Covid vaccine maker Pfizer doubled.
It’s long been apparent that corruption kills. It makes any sort of effective response to crisis impossible, as the common good is tossed in favor of the individual profits of the richest, most powerful people and corporations.
The link between corruption on a systemic and individual level and the outsized toll of the pandemic on the US is explored in John Nichols’ latest book, Coronavirus Criminals And Pandemic Profiteers: Accountability For Those Who Caused The Crisis.
From Mike Pence to Andrew Cuomo, Mitch McConnell to his wife Trump cabinet secretary Elaine Chao, and from Amazon to Pfizer, Nichols details the callous decisions of powerful people that resulted in tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, hundreds of thousands disabled, and millions of people grieving their lost family members.
John Nichols is national affairs correspondent for The Nation magazine. He’s the author of numerous books, including The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party, which was the last book of his we spoke with him about before this interview.
Coronavirus Criminals and Pandemic Profiteers is out from Penguin Random House.
And speaking of Penguin Random House, the publisher has created a Banned Books Resources Hub that includes tools, materials and information that can help people and organizations fighting book bans.
Next week on Writer’s Voice, we talk with Andy Bowman about his book The West Texas Power Plant that Saved the World: Energy, Capitalism, and Climate Change. It’s about a small power plant in Pecos County TX that became a test case for renewable energy in the US. Don’t miss it!