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Sat Jun 12, 2021, 06:59 AM

Irradiated, Cheated and Now Infected: America's Marshall Islanders Confront a Covid-19 Disaster

Dave Weigel Retweeted

Happy Pulitzer day and huge congrats to all the winners. Gonna take this as an excuse to highlight one series of stories that stuck with me all year (and I wish won):
on the fight to get Pacific Islanders back on Medicaid


Irradiated, Cheated and Now Infected: America’s Marshall Islanders Confront a Covid-19 Disaster

The United States used their homeland for nuclear test-bombing, then denied them Medicaid. Now, their way of life in the U.S. heartland has left them prime prey for the pandemic.


12/17/2020 04:30 PM EST

Dan Diamond investigates health care politics and policy for POLITICO.

DUBUQUE, Iowa—The Covid-19 pandemic had already sickened their friends when it came for Nathan Nathan's wife, too. ... It was April 20, Nathan recalls, and his 53-year-old wife, Neibwen Naisher—who was always smiling, he says, who was never sick or complained—was gasping for air in their home in this small Midwestern city.


In many ways, it's the same catastrophe that's played out across America during Covid-19: Loved ones suddenly struck down and separated by illness. Jobs lost in the economic downturn. Unpaid bills piling up, despite a pledge from President Donald Trump to protect the uninsured from coronavirus costs.

But Nathan isn't American. He and his family are from the Marshall Islands—among the thousands who fled the atolls in the Pacific after U.S. nuclear testing riddled the islands with radiation and rendered their communities unsafe. The islanders' experience during the pandemic has been a tragedy inside a tragedy, the culmination of decades-old U.S. policies and public health failures that continue to chase the Marshallese.

The United States nuked their homeland. Ruined their food supply. Then promised them free health care through Medicaid before Congress later yanked it away. Now, it's given them coronavirus—at a far greater rate than the general U.S. population, and infinitely higher than their troubled home islands, where local Covid-19 transmission is nonexistent. One outbreak in a Marshallese community in Arkansas was so bad, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this summer dispatched a team to specifically study it.


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Reply Irradiated, Cheated and Now Infected: America's Marshall Islanders Confront a Covid-19 Disaster (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Jun 12 OP
MerryHolidays Jun 12 #1

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sat Jun 12, 2021, 07:03 AM

1. This is just heartbreaking nt

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