This crisis was not inevitable. Stormont has had months to strengthen our health service in preparation for a resurgence of Covid. Instead, they were focused on reopening the economy as fast as possible in the interests of big business, which is a key reason for the current spike
An enormous expansion of health service facilities, resources and staff would be required to ensure a high quality of care and safety continues as we work and live with Covid-19.
Officially, just under 100,000 healthcare workers have contracted Covid-19, with over a thousand deaths internationally. The reality is likely to be far worse, as the World Health Organisation have reported almost 25,000 cases of Covid-19 in healthcare workers in April 2020 alone.
On 4 May, a Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference took place with state leaders from Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, UK, Canada, Norway, Jordan, Israel, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the European Commission. The conference aimed to raise £6.5 billion from governments and foundations to invest in the research into and development of a vaccine for Covid-19.
The recent round of industrial action taken in the health service was an example of the power that workers have through collective struggle. The campaign of escalating industrial action, involving multiple unions and including coordinated strikes, brought the issues of pay inequality and under-staffing to the fore.