A small group of long-serving AIDS workers, fed up with what they see as President Joe Biden’s failure to raise antiretroviral drugs for use worldwide, erected a fake mound of bones outside the home of Ron Klain, his chief of staff, Wednesday to represent a life they say was lost due to president’s actions.
The protesters, some of whom were veterans of a major protest that played at the National Institutes of Health more than 30 years ago, had already made statements similar to secret phone calls by officials, including Drs. Anthony Fauci, the goal of the first AIDS campaign to show who became an advocate for advocates.
But the call did not reach them, they said. So they decided to try the classic, in-your-face techniques. The bone marrow, they said, was designed by design in New York. They planted it in front of Klain’s closest neighbor’s road to prevent the rush of Secret Service Staff guarding Klain’s house. The delegates then demanded that they leave.
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“No one wants to be here in front of Ron Klain’s house, to show the president that most of us voted for,” said Gregg Gonsalves, a Yale University health analyst whose enthusiasm for people with AIDS led to educational work and a 2018 MacArthur “genius” award. “But we have tried everything else.”
He defended the move to show himself at the home of other unelected managers.
“What is it – four million deaths, six million deaths, ten million deaths – that we can show on someone’s lawn and hold them accountable?” Gonsalves said. More than 4.7 million people are known to have died worldwide from COVID-19, but a study of more deaths worldwide shows that the actual figure is much higher.
“They represent the public,” Gonsalves said of civil servants. “We pay them. They are not listening to the American public. They are not listening to the public of the world. They do not listen to scientific advice. So here are a few things we can do. ”
In a statement sent by e-mail, a White House spokesman said the administration had taken “immediate action to save lives right now,” including buying more than 1 billion overseas drugs and working with manufacturers in India and South Africa to increase vaccine production.
“These guns are getting into these weapons now and in the coming months,” said spokesman Kevin Munoz. “We are pushing the world” to expand and do more quickly, he added.
The demonstration, held at the Klain home in Washington suburbs, was part of a series of vaccinations on Wednesday with AIDS advocacy groups, including Prep4All and Right 2 Health Action. One was at the Boston home of Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, whose COVID-19 drug was developed with support from American taxpayers.
Less than 10 percent of those in many impoverished countries have been severely affected and short of doses are causing suffering for millions, a growing pressure on both Biden and drug manufacturers, including Moderna, to provide low-cost drugs.
Biden said the United States is doing more than any other country to address this problem. Last week, at a special ECOVID-19 meeting he convened on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, he announced that his administration had purchased more than 500 million Pfizer-BioNTech tablets to overseas, bringing the total to 1.1 billion.
But politicians want the president to further pressure companies to share their facilities with other vaccine manufacturers and build manufacturing facilities around the world.
“This is not just about talking about politics; it is the life and death of millions of people around the world, “said James Krellenstein, who led the Klain protest and drove a U-Haul truck carrying a bone marrow from New York to Washington.” in all, they would inject another 500 million vaccines. “
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