The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Destroying COVID Tests While in Pandemic

Sep 27, 2021

Abbott Laboratories, a manufacturer of a popular coronavirus rapid test, told its workers to destroy millions of coronavirus test cards last June—and then laid off thousands of the workers, including 2,000 at Abbott’s Illinois plant. Then, Abbot shut down the plant.

"It’s not your fault,” management told the workers it was throwing in the street; that this was “all about money.”

No consolation for the workers, of course, whom Abbott had rushed just weeks before to work faster, and longer hours, to make more tests—to work themselves out of their jobs, that is.

Abbott made a killing selling its tests last winter, when there was a Covid surge in many parts of the country. But when Covid cases dropped in the spring months, Abbott just ordered workers to destroy the tests.

Some of the Abbott workers questioned why Abbott was destroying tests, some of which had seven more months until expiration, instead of sending them to countries where the pandemic was on the rise. Some others already knew the answer: companies want the supplies of an item to be limited so that the price can stay high. Abbot was selling the tests for $20 to $24 each, and had collected $4.6 billion for the tests already by April.

Now, with the Delta variant spreading and the demand for Covid tests running high, Abbott tells customers they have to wait until production increases again.

These are the companies that the world’s fight against the coronavirus is entrusted to; companies for which the pandemic is just another opportunity to make money. The fact that this is about human life and everybody’s health—the investors and executives of Abbott, those pandemic profiteers, do not care about that.

Is it any wonder why, despite all the medical knowledge and technology of the 21st century, the coronavirus pandemic is still raging in many parts of the world after more than one and a half years?