U.S. Life Expectancy Under Trump Fell Drastically-- Guess Which Communities Suffered Most Grievously

A few months ago, the BBC reported that France was rewarding immigrants who work frontline COVID jobs with fast-track citizenship. Those jobs include healthcare professionals, cleaners and grocery store workers. The BBC reported that "Frontline workers around the world have been exposed to Covid-19 at a high rate with many dying from the disease including doctors and nurses. France is in the top 10 countries worst hit by coronavirus infections, with more than 2.5 million confirmed cases and close to 62,000 deaths. The expediated citizenship initiative was first announced in September. Seventy-four people have already been granted a French passport and another 693 are in the final stages. A total of 2,890 people have applied so far."

Basically, you have to reside in France for 5 years-- with a stable income and an ability to demonstrate your integration into French society before you can become a citizen. The new rule for frontline workers cuts that down to 2 years. Here in America, frontline workers get treated... differently, including frontline workers born and bred in America. Today, in an essay he called Immoral Hazard, Judd Legum wrote that "Kroger, the nation's largest grocery store chain, ended hazard pay for its workers on May 17, 2020. The company seems determined not to reinstate any additional pay for frontline employees. It is willing to permanently shutter stores to avoid paying workers, who are putting their lives at risk, a few extra dollars per hour. On Tuesday, Kroger announced it would shutter two stores in the Seattle area. The move comes after the city council passed an ordinance requiring large grocery businesses to pay workers an additional $4 per hour during the pandemic. The city council was addressing the fact that many large grocery chains, like Kroger, had ended their hazard pay program even as the pandemic intensified. 'Our ability to feed our families relies on grocery workers showing up each day. Those who are putting themselves on the front lines every day should be compensated for the work they’re doing,' Councilmember Tammy Morales said."

It's worth noting that AP reported this morning that "Life expectancy in the United States dropped a staggering one year during the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic caused its first wave of deaths, health officials are reporting. Minorities suffered the biggest impact, with Black Americans losing nearly three years and Hispanics, nearly two years, according to preliminary estimates Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'This is a huge decline,' said Robert Anderson, who oversees the numbers for the CDC. 'You have to go back to World War II, the 1940s, to find a decline like this.'"

Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a health equity researcher and dean at the University of California, San Francisco noted that "Black and Hispanic communities throughout the United States have borne the brunt of this pandemic." They’re more likely to be in frontline, low-wage jobs and living in crowded environments where it’s easier for the virus to spread, and "there are stark, pre-existing health disparities in other conditions" that raise their risk of dying of COVID-19, she said.

The Trump Regime mishandled the pandemic so horribly that the U.S.-- with 4% of the world's population, has 20% of the world's COVID-deaths. AP reported that "Not enough use of masks, early reliance on drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, which turned out to be worthless, and other missteps meant many Americans died needlessly." On Wednesday, the U.S. once again led the world in new cases:

  • USA +71,640 (85,644 cases per million residents)

  • Brazil +57,295 (46,738 cases per million residents)

  • France +25,018 (53,762 cases per million residents)

  • Russia +12,828 (28,170 cases per million residents)

  • U.K. +12,718 (59,772 cases per million residents)

The U.S. also led the world in the total number of deaths:

  • USA- 502,544 (1,513 deaths per million residents)

  • Brazil- 242,178 (1,134 deaths per million residents)

  • Mexico- 175,986 (1,356 deaths per million residents)

  • India- 156,038 (112 deaths per million residents)

  • U.K.- 118,933 (1,746 deaths per million residents)

The U.S. also has the most serious and critical cases of any country in the world (an indication of future deaths):

  • USA- 18,227

  • India- 8,944

  • Brazil- 8,318

  • Mexico- 4,798

  • Spain- 3,909

Legum reported that Kroger's was explicit about closing the Seattle stores (as well as 2 stores in Long Beach when that city passed the same kind of ordinance) because it didn't want to incur the extra costs of paying workers the extra $4/hour. "The company's claim," he wrote, "that it has been struggling financially during the pandemic is belied by its public earnings reports. Through the 3Q of 2020, which ended November 7, Kroger had over $2.9 billion in operating profits. That's an extra $1.2 billion in profits as compared to the same period in 2019. How is the company spending the extra money? In January, Kroger announced that it would be issuing 'a quarterly dividend of 18¢ per share to be paid on March 1, 2021.' With about 818 million shares outstanding, the dividend will transfer $147 million to investors. Last September, Kroger announced a new $1 billion stock buyback program. Buying company stock reduces the supply in the market, driving up stock prices. That benefits investors and also top executives like CEO Rodney McMullen, who are compensated mostly in stock. In 2019, McMullen received $21,129,648 in total compensation."

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) called Kroger's move "a transparent attempt to intimidate other local governments from passing ordinances that would provide hazard pay to front line grocery store workers...The COVID pandemic has caused serious illness and taken lives, and at the same time the amount of work and the level of stress and risk for grocery store workers has risen dramatically."

Legum also reported that "Other grocery chains have taken a different approach. Trader Joe's, for example, responded to the Seattle city council ordinance by 'raising pay for all its employees nationwide.' The decision by Trader Joe's undercuts the claim that it is impossible to profitably operate a grocery store with the additional pay to compensate workers for their increased risk. The increased pay at Trader Joe's 'will continue throughout the pandemic or until employees are eligible for vaccines as grocery workers.'"