The other day, when I noted that 80% of Americans would have be fully vaccinated for the country to achieve herd immunity. I got a great deal of pushback, saying that 80% is way too low and that until at least 90% of the country is fully vaccinated, the pandemic will still be ravaging the country. Eight now the country is experiencing between 80 and 90 thousand new cases a day and between. There were 1,200 deaths yesterday. Good news: 86.6% of Americans over 65 years of age are fully vaccinated and 99.9% have had at least one dose. (48.1% of seniors have already had their 3rd shot.)
There are just 9 states where fewer than 50% of the population are fully vaccinated: Wyoming, West Virginia, Idaho, North Dakota, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Georgia. Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers is being challenged in the courts and today the Senate will vote on a Republican resolution by Mike Lee (R-UT) to ban it. With every Republican in favor, all the GOP needs is 2 Democrats to vote with them. So far two of the most conservative Democrats-- both in red states-- are on board with the GOP against the mandates: Joe Manchin (WV) and Jon Tester (MT).
Manchin: "I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses. That’s why I have cosponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses."
Pelosi doesn't intend to vote on the resolution in the House but if Republicans get a majority of members to sign a discharge petition-- meaning their whole poxie party plus 3 or 4 Democrats, her hand will be forced and funding to implement the mandate would be denied. If shit-heads like Cuellar (TX), Case (HI), Costa (CA), Schrader (OR) and Golden (ME) vote for it, and it passes, Biden would have to veto it.
Washington state congressional candidate, Jason Call, grappled with this topic and told me this evening that "This is not going to sit well with a faction of the left who would otherwise support me 100%-- but I am fine with vaccine mandates. I am fine with businesses requiring vaccines for employees. I am fine with businesses requiring proof of vaccination for entry. Heck, I have to go inspect a Dept of Corrections housing facility this week, and they are requiring me to both show my proof of vaccination AND take a rapid COVID test before I enter the facility. No problem. There's longstanding precedent with vaccine mandates for public safety going back to 1905 (Massachusetts v Jacobson). But we should examine closely the anti-mandate position. I have seen no greater division on the left in my entire life, and to be honest while I disagree with it, I do understand the skepticism. We have a for profit pharmaceutical industry that is making a tidy sum from COVID vaccines. We should be paying no more than cost on vaccines, and beyond that we should nationalize the pharmaceutical industry completely. These companies should also turn over their formulas. No patents on vaccines. Allow less developed countries worldwide to produce vaccines. China is completely showing up the US by providing a billion vaccines to Africa. We should be embarrassed (but good for China, the best we can do is boycott their Winter Olympics? Pathetic.) Furthermore, on skepticism of vaccines, there's a rampant history of abuse of various populations for medical experiments (the Tuskegee Airmen syphilis experiments for instance), so it's a testament to how unethically the US has handled wide scale medical programs in the past that we are seeing such distrust in the vaccine program, particularly on the left. Also, there are legitimately people who cannot get vaccinated, and I've yet to see any set of competent exemptions that would allow such people to engage in daily routines if they can't medically vaccinate. But in the end, vaccines work, and inoculation has worked for centuries. I'll comment briefly on Jen Psaki here, who scoffed at a reporter asking why testing isn't free. Psaki said 'should we provide one free to every American?' not realizing, perhaps, how condescending she sounded. But the answer to that is yes. Free testing. As much as is needed. To whomever wants it. Do we want to beat this thing or not?"
Steven Holden is the only progressive-- in a sea of conservatives-- running for the Syracuse-based Central New York district. This morning he noted that "The Federal Government, under the powers granted in the Constitution, to protect the general welfare of the population, has the right to mandate vaccinations. The baseline for determining the need for such mandates should be the protection of those with underlying medical conditions, older Americans, and children. If we need to get to 90% to reach herd immunity and prevent other variants from spreading, then the Federal Government must fund an additional vaccine rollout. No one should be surprised about the Republican and conservative Democratic resistance to the funding bill. This is prima facie evidence that we need to elect more Progressives into both houses."
Biden's proposal is pretty moderate. A far stronger measure was filed Monday by Rep. Jonathan Carroll (D-Northbrook) in the Illinois legislature. The bill would force unvaccinated patients to pay for their own medical expenses if they get COVID and go to a hospital. Carroll: "The vaccine is proven to be the one thing that is stopping the severity of COVID-19, and we are seeing more variants popping up. The experts are telling us, 'This is now becoming a disease of the unvaccinated.' The people that are choosing to get vaccinated are not the ones that are clogging up the healthcare system, it’s the ones that aren’t... With the people that are choosing to get vaccinated, even if breakthrough click cases occurred, generally speaking, they’re not as severe as those people that are unvaccinate"
A study from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) found the average COVID-19 related hospitalization costs $24,033. According to a snapshot study from The Peterson Center on Health Care and the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 287,000 unvaccinated Americans were hospitalized over a three month span this summer, racking up an estimated $5 billion in medical expenses.