Why Joe Biden Wants Vaccination Mandatory | free press

The guests had long ago booked their ferry tickets and lodging on the vacation island of Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts when they received a surprising phone call on Tuesday evening. If you’re not on your way yet, please stay home, they were told: The party is cancelled.

The guests had long ago booked their ferry tickets and lodging on the vacation island of Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts when they received a surprising phone call on Tuesday evening. If you’re not on your way yet, please stay home, they were told: The party is cancelled.

For days, US media had spread reports about this summer’s social event: 700 film and television celebrities, top Democratic politicians and top party donors were reportedly expected tomorrow Saturday to celebrate ex-President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday — including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and George Clooney. They wanted to celebrate the anniversary at his $11.8 million estate with a huge villa and miles of Atlantic views in the exclusive southeast of the island.

But nothing will come of it. “Due to the new distribution of the Delta variant, the President and Ms. Obama have decided to make the event significantly smaller,” a spokeswoman said briefly on Wednesday. Now only family and closest friends are invited.

A month after the July 4 National Day, when President Joe Biden beamed with joy and announced the end of a “dark year of pandemic and isolation” at a large barbecue in the White House yard, the US appears to be stuck in a rut. a disastrous time warp: The number of daily new Covid infections rose from about 10,000 to more than 90,000 within a month. With 50,000 corona patients currently in hospital, the country has fallen back to March levels. And in many places the long mothball masks have to be put back on quickly.

“It’s not about politics. It’s about life and death” – with that, Biden struck a very serious tone at the White House. “I know this is frustrating. I know we hoped it would be an easy straight line with no problems or new challenges. But that’s not real life.”

After a furious start with sometimes four million vaccinations a day and a drastic drop in the number of infections in the spring, the Biden administration now has to wage a heavy two-front war: the highly contagious delta variant of the corona virus is spreading like a forest fire. At the same time, the vaccination campaign is stagnating. Every second American is now fully vaccinated. There is massive resistance to the rest, fueled by Republicans, conspiracy ideologues and right-wing Fox propagandists with false reports of bad side effects or secret chip implants.

Covid protection is extremely unevenly distributed in the country. According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Democratic voters, older Americans and college graduates are predominantly vaccinated. By contrast, the rural population and Republican supporters are clearly lagging behind. Geographically, there is a sharp divide between the East Coast, with vaccination rates exceeding 65 percent, and the conservative southern states of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana, where only one in three residents has been vaccinated. The virus is spreading very quickly here and in Florida.

“The next few weeks don’t look good at all,” fears Murtaza Akhter, an emergency physician at Kendall Regional Medical Center in West Miami. The state of Florida alone currently has 18,000 infections and 11,000 hospitalized patients every day. Akhters Hospital is flooded by a wave of Covid: “The patients are getting younger, and practically all are not vaccinated,” the doctor reports to the PBS station. What shocked him most was the stubbornness of many opponents of the vaccination: “They are in the hospital and still deny the danger.”

Reports of vaccine breakthroughs in which vaccinated people, such as Republican Senator Lindsey Graham recently became infected, are making the fight against the pandemic even more difficult. Such infections are almost always harmless or mild. Nevertheless, anti-vaccination campaigns exploit them for propaganda purposes. In particular, according to the CDC, the ability to wear masks makes it necessary for those who have been vaccinated to wear masks again.

But that fuels the fanatic culture war of the right. That Republican MP and Trump admirer Marjorie Taylor Greene compared mouth and nose protection to the Jewish star in the Third Reich is not an outlier. Republicans everywhere are demonizing the canvas as an attack on their fundamental rights. “We will not allow Joe Biden and his bureaucratic lackeys to come here to confiscate the rights and freedoms of Floridians,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis murmurs. Like his Texan colleague Greg Abbott, he demonstratively banned all mask rules. This means that the fight against Washington’s pandemic in the second and third largest US state is basically in vain.

The president is therefore angry. “If you don’t want to help,” Biden scolded the two Republican governors on Tuesday, “at least avoid the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives!”

Given the huge risk of another wave of coronavirus, which could also affect children at the start of the school year, Biden is now determined to significantly increase pressure for faster vaccination. Despite all the incentives—from store coupons to free subway tickets to spectacular multimillion-dollar lotteries—about 30 percent of American adults are still unvaccinated. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation survey, ten percent are waiting. Three percent will only respond if forced. And 14 percent definitely want to refuse the injection. Herd immunization cannot be achieved in this way.

That is why Biden is now throwing overboard a long-held political taboo: the voluntary nature of vaccination. As early as May, the Houston Methodist Hospital chain asked its 25,000 employees to be vaccinated and unceremoniously kicked 153 vaccine refusers out the door. A lawsuit against it was rejected by the court. That broke the dam. Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs is also demanding a vaccination from its medical staff, and the Department of Defense is preparing a similar arrangement for the military, which should go into effect once the Biontech vaccine — as widely expected — is in the U.S. next month. instead of the previous emergency permit gets final approval.

Cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are now also requiring their employees to be vaccinated or tested regularly. In Washington, however, more hopes are being placed in the private sector as well-known companies outside the healthcare sector are stepping up the pressure. Beginning in November, the world’s largest meat retailer, Tyson Foods, will require its 120,000 U.S. employees to provide proof of vaccination as a condition of continued employment. After all, this includes a $200 bonus. The IT giant Microsoft requires proof of this from all 100,000 employees and dealers who enter the office building. The entertainment company Walt Disney is also introducing a vaccination requirement for workers and white-collar workers.

A new regulation from New York could of course have an even stronger effect: from mid-month in the country’s largest city, you must show a vaccination certificate if you want to visit an indoor restaurant, gym or cinema. In fact, the number of vaccinations has increased slightly across the country in recent days. “These are encouraging signs,” said President Joe Biden. But it’s no more than that.

Only vaccinated people are allowed in the US

In the future, travel to the US will probably only be possible with a full corona vaccination. According to various US media, this will become clear during the deliberations of a government working group that advises on options to reopen the country for travel. But it is still unclear when the rigid restrictions for visitors from Europe will be lifted.

From March 2020, tourists from the Schengen area and Great Britain will no longer be allowed to enter America. There are limited exceptions for certain visa holders who must work in the US. During Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit, President Joe Biden had promised a review of the ordinance. Moments later, however, his spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that in view of the distribution of the Delta variant, the restrictions are currently being respected.

The plan to reopen the country to travelers would systematize the previous arbitrary rules – tourists from Turkey or Saudi Arabia are not subject to any conditions. In principle, proof of full vaccination should be gradually required from all foreign visitors. This also ties in with the Biden government’s domestic line, which has increasingly focused on vaccination requirements.

It is still unclear who should check the vaccination certificate. Also, it seems uncertain which evidence and which vaccine would meet the requirement. In the US, only the vaccines from Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are recognized – but not from Astrazeneca.

The introduction of compulsory vaccinations could therefore ease restrictions on Europeans. But according to information from Reuters news agency, this should not happen immediately because of the delta variant. There is no schedule yet.

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