The coronavirus pandemic

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.

American Federation of Teachers shuts down University of Michigan graduate student strike

By our reporters, 17 September 2020

The end of the strike occurred less than 24 hours after the American Federation of Teachers assumed control of negotiations and produced an agreement that was virtually identical to the one overwhelmingly rejected just a week ago.

Big Ten universities announce football will resume

By Andy Thompson, 17 September 2020

After an earlier decision to postpone the season, the Big Ten football conference has announced games will begin October 24.

“We’re going to keep fighting”

Opposition mounts as thousands of University of Illinois at Chicago nurses and workers continue strike

By Kylie Rose, 17 September 2020

The university administration and the Democratic Party are increasingly nervous over the support striking workers have elicited.

Students return to UK universities: Build campus safety committees!

By Danny Knightley, 17 September 2020

Campus safety committees must ensure safety procedures are put in place to protect the health of students and staff alike, and fight for increased testing on campuses.

Strikes mount as COVID-19 breaks out in hundreds of Spanish schools

By Alice Summers, 17 September 2020

Spanish unions have refused to call out education workers in a unified struggle against the reopening of schools, limiting action to sporadic, short-term protests.

Faurecia Gladstone Rank-and-File Safety Committee calls for plantwide shutdown to guarantee safety during pandemic

By Faurecia Gladstone Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 17 September 2020

The Faurecia Gladstone Rank-and-File Safety Committee has issued a statement calling for equal treatment to protect against COVID-19.

Surge in COVID-19 infections as in-person classes resume at many Illinois college campuses

By Fabian Salgado, 17 September 2020

Illinois State University is experiencing a horrifying explosion in the rate of COVID-19 infection as in person classes resume at many of the state’s campuses.

University of Wisconsin-Madison and La Crosse quarantine students after infections

By Brian Green, 17 September 2020

The affected students were given the choice of returning to their families or remaining on campus in the crowded and COVID-infested residence halls.

COVID-19 outbreaks force switch to online learning at New Jersey schools

By Erik Schreiber and Robert Milkowski, 17 September 2020

At least eight districts have switched their entire district or individual schools to fully remote instruction after confirmed infections.

As US death toll hits 200,000, Trump calls for herd immunity

By Andre Damon, 17 September 2020

“Herd immunity” has been the guiding principle of Trump’s response to the pandemic, underlying his efforts to downplay the virus, handicap testing and get workers back on the job as quickly as possible.

Australian ruling elite moves to junk coronavirus safety measures—the working class must intervene to answer the pandemic threat!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 17 September 2020

Sections of the ruling class have concluded that any further safety restrictions can no longer be tolerated, regardless of the danger to working class lives.

“I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp”

Nurse alleges forced sterilizations, medical malpractice at Georgia immigrant detention center

By Niles Niemuth, 16 September 2020

The chilling report provides further evidence of the sadistic abuse meted out by the Trump administration in its fascistic war on immigrants.

Schools at epicentre of UK’s coronavirus explosion

By Robert Stevens, 16 September 2020

The virus is resurgent in workplaces, schools, and communities, with the R (reproduction) value rising above 1 across the UK.

COVID-19 cases escalate with school re-openings: Build educators rank-and-file safety committees!

By Tom Pearce and Julie Hyland, 16 September 2020

With Labour Party support, the National Education Union is complicit in abandoning its 450,000 members and those they teach to the government’s policy of “herd immunity”.

France imposes return to school without protections against COVID-19

By Jacques Valentin, 16 September 2020

With over 1,200 schools and universities affected, France faces a resurgent pandemic provoked by the reopening drive by the highest state authorities.

“It’s immoral and irresponsible to bring students to campus and to conduct in-person classes”

NYU faculty and students denounce unsafe reopening of campus

By IYSSE at New York University, 16 September 2020

The reopening of NYU, the largest private university in the US, is utterly reckless and places the lives of students, workers and residents in the area in immense danger.

San Diego State University seeks to shift blame to students for coronavirus outbreaks following reopening

By Melody Isley and Norissa Santa Cruz, 16 September 2020

As the virus spreads on campus, students have watched in horror as peers are taken away to isolation dorms by staff dressed in hazmat gear.

“It is really up to the teachers to take their safety into their own hands.”

One-third of schools in Knox County, Tennessee have at least one positive COVID-19 case

By Isaac Finn, 16 September 2020

The growing spread of the deadly virus is the direct outcome of the “herd immunity” policies that have been pursued by every level of government in the US.

The precedents for disease eradication through international cooperation

Part two

By Frank Gaglioti, 16 September 2020

Vaccines have been successfully developed for both polio and the measles, but global elimination of the diseases lags.

New cases of COVID-19 reach a one-day high of nearly 308,000 worldwide

By Benjamin Mateus and Patrick Martin, 15 September 2020

The number of new cases of COVID-19 hit a new one-day high of nearly 308,000 worldwide, bringing the global total to almost 30 million cases and 930,000 deaths. The United States alone will reach 200,000 deaths by mid-week.

Israel becomes first country to impose second national COVID-19 lockdown

By Jean Shaoul, 15 September 2020

Israel now tops the world rankings in the number of new COVID-19 cases per capita.

University of Michigan president seeks court injunction to force graduate student instructors back to work

By Sam Wayne and Genevieve Leigh, 15 September 2020

The University of Michigan is responding with a new round of threats and intimidation to the overwhelming vote Sunday by graduate students to extend their strike.

Four thousand University of Illinois at Chicago staff join striking nurses

By Kristina Betinis and Marcus Day, 15 September 2020

The now nearly 5,000 university health and staff workers are locked in a battle against the Democratic state leadership and must expand their struggle for health and safety.

Attend SEP (Australia) online forum: The COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis of capitalism and the way forward for health workers

15 September 2020

The safety and well being of health workers must be taken out of the hands of governments and unions who have no interest in this task.

Indian workers speak out against Modi, trade unions on COVID-19 pandemic

By Sasi Kumar and V. Gnana, 15 September 2020

WSWS reporters interviewed workers in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu on the situation facing Indian workers during the pandemic.

US farmworkers labor under unsafe conditions as West Coast fires continue to rage

By Rafael Azul, 15 September 2020

Nearly 500,000 field workers have been severely affected by the ongoing wildfires as they continue to labor in California’s Central Valley and in the wine region, picking lettuce, strawberries, citrus, grapes, and other crops.

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University students and staff unite to oppose in-person learning

By Andy Thompson, 15 September 2020

The demands of those involved in the protest are to end all in-person classes and have all learning be done online until the pandemic is under control.

Mounting opposition to school reopenings as 55 New York City teachers test positive for COVID-19

By Alberto Escalera, 15 September 2020

Public school educators in New York City have conducted protests and written petitions in the last several days to oppose the reckless reopening of schools by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Dangers mount as Detroit implements a “hybrid” return to school

By the Detroit Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 15 September 2020

The re-opening of schools in Detroit is threatening the lives of teachers, support staff, children and parents.

Washington, DC mayor calls for reopening of public schools amid pandemic

By Nick Barrickman, 15 September 2020

The announcement comes despite a late-July decision banning in-person teaching throughout the fall.

Exposure of Trump’s lies on COVID-19 implicates Spain’s Podemos party

By Alejandro López, 15 September 2020

Though it had access to intelligence briefings on the deadly danger posed by the pandemic, Podemos adopted a criminally negligent policy.

Dramatic spike in Philippines’ coronavirus death toll

By Owen Howell, 15 September 2020

The official death toll reached 4,371 on Saturday, but the record of incorrect figures suggests that the real total could be much higher.

Working-class resistance mounts to back-to-work campaign

By Jerry White, 15 September 2020

On Monday, nearly 4,000 service workers at the University of Illinois walked out, joining strikes by 800 nurses at a UI hospital in Chicago and nearly 2,000 grad student instructors at the University of Michigan.

The precedents for disease eradication through international cooperation

Part one

By Frank Gaglioti, 15 September 2020

An examination of the historical record demonstrates that infectious diseases like COVID-19 can be eliminated.

University of Michigan graduate students vote to extend strike as opposition erupts at campuses throughout the US

By Genevieve Leigh, 14 September 2020

The reopening of campuses is driving an expansion of the coronavirus pandemic, with 19 of the 25 largest outbreaks in communities with colleges that have started in-person learning.

“In the end, it is all about profit"

University of Illinois Hospital nurses strike over staff shortages, unsafe conditions

By Benjamin Mateus and George Gallanis, 14 September 2020

UIH nurses in Chicago walked out Saturday to demand patient limits and safe work environments.

Wildcat strike over COVID-19 at Lear auto parts plant in Indiana

By Marcus Day, 14 September 2020

Lear workers refused to work for several hours Friday night after learning of potential COVID-19 cases in the facility, halting production also at the nearby Ford Chicago Assembly Plant.

Australia: Unions silent as dozens of New South Wales schools are affected by COVID-19

By Martin Scott, 14 September 2020

Even teachers over the age of 70, or with serious health conditions, have been forced back to front-line teaching since late May.

Australian government exploits family funeral to push for end to coronavirus border restrictions

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 September 2020

The government aims to shift public opinion against border restrictions, which corporate Australia now wants scrapped.

COVID-19 outbreak at Virginia migrant detention center caused by repression of anti-police brutality protesters

By Joe Williams, 14 September 2020

The outbreak at the Farmville detention center demonstrates the capitalist class’s disdain for democratic rights and the lives of the entire population.

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

Set up independent action committees for the safety of teachers, pupils and parents!

By the Action Committees for Safe Education, 14 September 2020

The completely unsafe routine operation of schools threatens the health and lives of millions of educators, parents, children, young people and their families.

University of Michigan grad students set to extend strike as opposition grows to the US back-to-school drive

By Genevieve Leigh, 12 September 2020

Nineteen of the 25 hottest outbreaks in the US are in communities with colleges that have reopened for in-person learning, sparking growing anger over the homicidal back-to-school campaign.

University of Michigan strikers speak out: “We need to resist going back to normal. Normal no longer exists”

By our reporters, 12 September 2020

The strike is quickly turning into a focal point of a much broader opposition to the reckless reopening of both K-12 schools and college campuses everywhere.

Revelation of US government conspiracy on COVID-19 exposes EU herd immunity policy

By Alex Lantier, 12 September 2020

Revelations that US officials conspired to lie to the public about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic also expose the politically criminal role of the EU.

Latin America, epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, on the brink of social explosion

By Tomas Castanheira, 12 September 2020

Latin America this week reached the grim milestones of 300,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 8 million infections.