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Valentines on Display for Loved Ones Lost to COVID-19


Monday, February 14, 2022   

To mark the losses of the past two years from the COVID-19 pandemic, people are posting Valentine's Day cards in Portland.

A wall in the city has been dedicated to valentines to loved ones people have lost and thanks to folks on the front lines, such as first responders and teachers.

Betsy Zucker is a retired nurse practitioner and chair of the health-care committee for Portland Jobs with Justice. She said in order to act on the pandemic, we have to recognize how much it has affected our lives.

"This action around Valentine's Day, when we think tenderly about people we love and things that we love to do together," said Zucker, "is just a time to bring that forward and let people resonate with it."

In Oregon, there have been more than 6,300 deaths from COVID-19 and 672,000 cases. The action is part of a larger movement called End the Pandemic Now, which is urging the U.S. government to do more to increase access to the vaccines globally.

Hillary Haden, organizing director with the Trade Justice Education Fund, said billions of people around the world don't have access to vaccines, which is not only leading to more deaths but also allowing new variants to take hold.

She said one way to ensure more people can get access is to temporarily waive intellectual property rules around vaccines with the World Trade Organization, which the Biden administration came out in favor of last year.

"But they're not doing a lot to move that waiver forward," said Haden. "And so, part of our actions in these Valentine's Day spaces and also the other actions that our organization works on are really pressing the Biden administration to do more at the WTO to really push forward."

Haden said Congress also can take action by passing the "End the Pandemic Now" plan.

The resolution calls for temporarily waiving intellectual property rules for vaccines, sharing technology and funding other countries' efforts to ramp up production.

Disclosure: Trade Justice Education Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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