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Vaccine mandate news – live: Free rapid tests from Wednesday after Supreme Court blocks Biden Covid rule

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Joe Biden gives an update on federal surge response to Omicron

The Supreme Court has tossed out a Biden administration vaccine mandate that would have required 80 million workers to either get vaccinated or submit to regular testing.

In a blow to the president’s push to get more Americans vaccinated, the ruling comes as health experts believe that the US may be approaching the peak of the latest wave of Covid-19 brought on by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

While the political right is praising the decision, there is an outcry from the medical community, and from the left. MSNBC host Joy Reid called the justices who chose to strike down the mandate “right-wing ideologues”.

Meanwhile, a number of Republican politicians have vowed that they will defy Washington, D.C.’s own proposed vaccination mandate for businesses.

The mandate, which was announced by Mayor Muriel Bowser in December, will force many establishments — from gyms and theatres to bars and restaurants — to require that patrons over the age of 12 show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering.

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‘Stunningly high’ 29 per cent positivity rate in US

Former CDC director Tom Frieden calls the current 29 per cent positivity rate in the US stunningly high and notes that many infections are being missed.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 20:44

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GE suspends COVID-19 vaccine or test requirement

General Electric Co on Friday said it has suspended Covid-19 vaccine or test requirement for employees after the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The court on Thursday blocked President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses — a policy the conservative justices deemed an improper imposition on the lives and health of many Americans — while endorsing a separate federal vaccine requirement for healthcare facilities.

Firms may still impose their own vaccination or testing requirements and the justice’s decision does not impact their ability to do so.

The Biden administration said it will continue to encourage this type of privately mandated measure.

With reporting from Reuters

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 20:36

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How to spot a fake KN95 mask

Jade Bremner explains how to spot a counterfeit KN95 mask.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 20:23

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Kentucky lawmaker ripped for ‘brave’ stand against vaccine rules

Republican representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky is being mocked for his stand against take-out food from DC restaurants that require proof of vaccination to enter.

He tweeted: “The DC vaccine mandate kicks in this weekend. My office will not comply. We will not show papers. We will not order takeout from restaurants that require papers for dine in. We will get our food from Virginia or we will bring it to work. Shame has befallen our nation’s capital.”

California Democrat Eric Swalwell responded: “I never thought I’d serve with a braver colleague than John Lewis. Then Thomas Massie stood up and refused to order takeout from DC. Fight on, Thomas! We shall overcome!”

Journalist Aaron Rupar similarly said: “Previous generations of great Americans held the line at Gettysburg or stormed the beaches at Normandy. Rep. Massie gets Five Guys from Virginia instead of DC. What heroism.”

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 20:16

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‘Moron’ senator claims to be drafting ‘FAUCI Act’

Days after being called a “moron” by White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci for making false claims about his financial disclosures, Kansas senator Roger Marshall plans to introduce legislation named for the federal government’s top infectious disease expert that would make such disclosures easier to find.

According to multiple reports, Sen Marshall plans to put forward a bill dubbed the Financial Accountability for Uniquely Compensated Individuals Act — or FAUCI Act for short — to make public Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure forms.

The veteran virologist said during a Senate hearing this week: “I don’t understand why you’re asking me that question. My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so – 35 years that I’ve been director.”

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 20:09

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Citi reaches 99 per cent vaccine compliance

Despite the Supreme Court decision regarding vaccine mandates for companies with more than 100 employees, those same firms can still implement their own rules, and many have done so.

On the day that the court handed down its decision, banking giant Citi announced that it had hit 99 per cent compliance to its own mandate.

Sarah Wechter, head of Human Resources at the bank, wrote on LinkedIn:

A few months back we announced that U.S. colleagues are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or receive an accommodation by January 14. One day before the deadline, we have reached 99% compliance. This level of compliance helps us create a safer workplace, protect your families and our communities, and ensure continuity of our business operations.

A huge thank you to everyone at Citi who took action to meet this requirement: those who were already vaccinated, those who made the decision to get vaccinated, and those who requested and received approved religious and medical accommodations or state-permitted exemptions. Going into the last day, we expect the number of employees who have not complied will decrease even further. Our goal has always been to keep everyone at Citi, and we sincerely hope all of our colleagues take action to comply.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 19:54

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White House: Free Covid tests can be ordered starting Wednesday

Americans will be able to order four free rapid Covid-19 per household on a US government website that will go live on 19 January, Biden administration officials said Friday.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 19:36

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Judge dismisses case of mom accused of forcing Covid-positive child into trunk

A woman accused of endangering her 13-year-old son has had her case dismissed by a judge in Texas.

Sarah Beam, aged 41, was arrested last week for allegedly forcing her son into the trunk of her car on 3 January. She had attended a drive-thru Covid testing site at Pridgeon Stadium in Houston, Texas, when she allegedly told a health director that her teenage son was inside the trunk.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 19:25

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Covid death toll under Biden soon to eclipse that under Trump

The number of dead Americans from Covid-19 had surpassed 846,000 on Friday. During Mr Trump’s last 10 months in office, 425,000 people died from Covid-19. During Mr Biden’s leadership, 421,000 people have died.

Gulstaf Kilander reports.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 19:05

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Feels longer…

Two years ago this week the first Covid-19 case outside of China was detected.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 18:48

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