Washington, D.C. — President Biden’s move to “encourage” mask mandates by placing severe restrictions on federal workers who refuse coronavirus vaccines has sparked a savage backlash among some state and local leaders who are now scrambling to oppose such policies. It should be noted that CNBC reported Wednesday that over 60% of the UK’s hospitalized COVID patients are vaccinated-but that anyone who questions the efficacy is a ‘denier’.
The tensions between the federal government and state officials comes as health experts are sounding the Def-con 5 alarm over the spread of the delta variant-surprise, it’s reportedly even more contagious.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in an internal document that this particularly virulent variant spread as easily as chickenpox and can cause more severe illness than other versions.
The non-public document details some of the more troubling plans was obtained by The Washington Post.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed an executive order Thursday prohibiting cities and other government entities in the state from enacting vaccine requirements or mask mandates. It is reported that new daily infections have reached 13,000-a 30% increase since February.
Abbott said that he relies on “personal responsibility rather than government mandates,” He insisted that Texans “have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities.”
But here are some canaries that are starting to wobble:
In less than 6 months, we’ve gone from vaccines ending the pandemic-to you can still get COVID even if vaccinated-to you can pass COVID onto others even if you are vaccinated-to you can still die from COVID even if you are vaccinated-to the unvaccinated are responsible for killing the vaccinated.
Hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t be trusting the CDC or the government.
According to unpublished data cited in a federal presentation obtained by The Washing Post, vaccinated people infected with the delta variant may be able to spread the virus as easily as unvaccinated people. Shocking. Here comes another round of vaccines.
Israel will begin offering a third vaccine shot to people over age 60. Israeli President Isaac Herzog, 60, set a good example by receiving his third coronavirus vaccine on Friday, Reuters reported.
Australia is mobilizing its military to help enforce a lockdown in Sydney. Some 300 unarmed Australian Defense Force soldiers will begin patrols on Monday, in a move the tinfoil hats have been predicting since this mess started. Look like they were right.
Japan, currently hosting the Olympic Games, announced on Friday it would expand states of emergency in Tokyo, Okinawa, Osaka and elsewhere until at least the end of August, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.
As delta cases rise in Asia, an area is already under heightened restrictions. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte issued a strict lockdown for the Manila capital region from Aug. 6 until Aug. 20, a state-run news agency reported.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high five times this month and is up nearly 15 percent so far this year. So far, Wall Street is proving immune to the impacts of the delta variant.
In Arizona, where Gov. Doug Ducey (R) earlier this week lambasted any enforcement of masks or vaccines, Abbott’s stance was imitated. “Arizona does not allow mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports or discrimination in schools based on who is or isn’t vaccinated,” Ducey said in a statement.
But in a reversal of recent policy in Washington, D.C., masks will be required indoors beginning Saturday, in an order issued by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D).
Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) has brought back the state’s mask mandate, as has Los Angeles County.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is expected to speak about any updates to requirements on Monday, according to NBC.
Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) urged all Virginians to “consider” wearing a mask in public indoor settings but added: “This is not a requirement, but a recommendation.”
To be fair, it’s not just Democrats who are cranking up the restrictions: Tulsa’s Republican Mayor G.T. Bynum said Thursday that city employees who don’t get vaccinated may not be eligible for hazard pay, News On 6 reported.
Florida — currently accounting for about 1 in 5 new national cases — For his part, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is maintaining his broad opposition to pandemic restrictions as tensions over mandates cause local mayors to announce more stringent emergency measures.
Not to be left out, Biden said Thursday that all federal employees and on-site contractors in the United States will be required to get vaccinated or wear face masks AND undergo repeated testing. Get ready for this to be a nationwide “recommendation.”
The Pentagon announced that all military and civilian personnel will be “asked” to verbally verify as to their vaccination status; those who are “unable or unwilling” to do so will be required to wear a mask, physically distance and comply with a regular testing requirement.
And of course defense leaders are considering whether to add coronavirus vaccines to the full list of requirements for military personnel. This one isn’t really surprising.
Biden also urged state and local governments to give $100 to anyone newly vaccinated in another attempt to boost immunizations, It’s a move that mimics cash and other incentives including alcohol and flowers, already common in places such as New York City, West Virginia and Maryland.
The Biden administration had targeted to get at least 70 percent of the public vaccinated by early July, but parts of the United States are still nowhere close to that goal. Still, around half of the country is fully vaccinated.
Copycat vaccination drives have been carried out in other countries, with varying degrees of success. Indonesia and Turkmenistan skipped the encouragement, and are enforcing strict vaccination mandates.
In France, lawmakers approved a controversial law on Monday giving vaccinated people “privileged” access to restaurants, cafes and transportation beginning in August.
In the corporate world, companies in the United States are also taking a strong line, with Uber, following Facebook and Google, declaring on Thursday a policy requiring U.S. employees to provide proof of vaccination when they return to offices, (with limited exceptions).
Meanwhile, polarized politics are presenting some Americans with a dilemma. In Missouri, residents are opting to take the vaccine secretly to avoid any backlash from friends and family, CNN reported. This is one of the first stages to reporting our neighbors for not complying.
Parents and school leaders across the country are also tangled in debates over whether millions of children should be required to wear masks when they return after the summer.
Every single day the tin foil hat explanations seem to be gaining ground as far as reasonableness.
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