Before she was kicked off all House committees, Marjorie Traitor Greene (Q-GA) introduced H.R. 2317-- We Will Not Comply Act, with 6 co-sponsors, fellow seditionists Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Greg Steube (R-FL), Mary Miller (Q-IL), Jody Hice (R-GA) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ). I noticed that earlier today she was on Twitter thanking a bunch of nut cases-- Barry Moore (R-AL), Scott Perry (R-PA) and Yvette Herrell (R-NM)-- for having just signed on to her proposal. The bill states that U.S. citizens "may not be discriminated against based on their COVID-19 vaccination status" and that "no Federal funds may be used to require any individual to receive a COVID–19 vaccine, or to enforce any such requirement." Further, the bill, which hasn't been reported out of committee and is unlikely to get a vote, stipulates that "no Federal funds may be made available to any elementary school, secondary school, or institution of higher education if such school or institution requires an individual to receive a COVID–19 vaccine as a condition for attendance or participation in any academic or extra-curricular activity, including sports teams, athletic clubs, or any other voluntary organization."
Most Members of Congress agree with Ted Lieu and Marie Newman when it comes to Greene's bizarre and extremely dysfunctional activities since being born in to Congress. Rep. Newman got right to the point this morning: "Creating legislation that could make someone sick or kill others," she told me, "is anti-American; I cannot state it more plainly."
"Marjorie Taylor Greene has insane ideas," said Los Angeles Congressman Ted Lieu this morning. "We are fighting a virus that we can’t see and, if it infects our bodies, can cause serious long term illness or death. Science has given us a powerful vaccine shield to protect us and our loved ones. We should be promoting the vaccines, not restricting them. If you are not vaccinate hesitate, and you are unvaccinated, please get vaccinated soon. The vaccines are widely available and free. If you are vaccine hesitant, please talk to your doctor. Then you can make a decision based on your specific situation.”
This morning, Washington Post reporter Claire Parker took a look at how countries around the world have approached vaccine mandates, noting that "Under the new rules, which will affect more than 4 million Americans, federal employees and contractors both in the United States and overseas will be required to share their vaccination status. Those who aren’t vaccinated won’t be fired, but they will face restrictions aimed at encouraging them to take a vaccine. The Pentagon announced Thursday evening that all military and civilian personnel will be asked to attest to their vaccination status; those who don’t will be required to wear a mask, physically distance and comply with a regular testing requirement. Defense leaders will begin consulting medical professionals, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to determine how and when to make recommendations to Biden about adding coronavirus vaccines 'to the full list of requirements for military personnel.'...The vaccination rules for federal workers mark an escalation in efforts to incentivize vaccination as a new covid-19 wave mounts.
She reported that, around the world, "Vaccination requirements have proven highly controversial, with some public health leaders and health workers calling for mandates, while some international human rights groups have raised concerns. In many developing countries, meanwhile, demand for vaccines still outpaces supply. She explains how 4 countries-- Indonesia, Turkmenistan, Russia and France-- have handled vaccination requirements."
Indonesia made coronavirus vaccinations mandatory in February, as Southeast Asia faced a devastating coronavirus wave.
All people eligible to get the shots must receive them, the government said, and those who refuse can face sanctions including fines and the suspension or delay of social assistance programs and government services, Bloomberg News reported. Local governments have the power to decide on punishments.
...Critics condemned what they called a heavy-handed approach that would penalize poor residents, and they raised concerns about the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine-- the only one available at the time.
Amnesty International said last year that states “must not impose blanket mandatory vaccine policies” and that the international rights group “strongly opposes the use of the criminal law” to punish those who refuse to be inoculated.
More than five months into the mandate, roughly 19 million people-- or about 7 percent of the population-- are fully vaccinated.
...If you’re 18 or older and you live in Turkmenistan, you are required to get a coronavirus vaccine unless you have a medical exemption.
...The bizarre twist: Turkmenistan has officially reported no coronavirus cases or deaths.
The autocratic government of the country, which is sandwiched between Iran and Uzbekistan, continues to deny that the virus is circulating there and has sought to stifle contradictory views. Still, for months it imposed restrictions that closed restaurants and banned bus and train travel between regions, Agence France-Presse reported.
Turkmenistan has procured vaccines from Russia and China, according to Reuters. Data that might shed insight into the progress of its vaccination campaign is hard to come by. And the government’s figure for the country’s total population-- roughly 6 million-- is contested. The last WHO update on Turkmenistan’s vaccination campaign came in April, by which point roughly 42,000 vaccine doses had been administered.
Desperate to boost low vaccination rates in a country that is producing plenty of local Sputnik V doses, Russian authorities have placed the onus on businesses.
In late June, Moscow’s mayor ordered employers in key service and retail industries to ensure that at least 60 percent of employees were fully inoculated by mid-August. Dozens of provinces followed suit.
Employers who fail to meet the target could face harsh punishments, and workers who refuse vaccines face threats of suspension.
When the rules started taking shape, 11 percent of Russians had been fully vaccinated, even though Russian vaccines are free and have been widely available for months. Now, that rate stands at 16.4 percent.
Several hundred people rallied against vaccine mandates Monday at a Communist-led rally in Moscow. A survey by the Moscow-based research and employment agency Superjob on July 21 found that 55 percent of Russians opposed mandatory inoculation. Many employers have said the government-- not businesses-- should be responsible for meeting vaccination targets.
Widespread hesitancy about the vaccine remains: Another survey this month found that roughly a third of Russians were unwilling to take the vaccine under any circumstances, while 26 percent would do so only if it was required to keep working or get hired.
Changes in official messaging and disinformation have fueled hesitancy, as has Russians’ distrust of authorities.
French lawmakers approved a controversial law on Monday that will give vaccinated people privileged access to restaurants, cafes, transportation between cities and other places beginning in August.
People wishing to enter those venues will be allowed to provide a recent negative coronavirus test or proof of immunity through infection-- but everyone else will be banned.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the goal of the “health pass” is to drive up vaccination rates that had started to level off. Health-care workers will be required to get inoculated and can be suspended if they have not been vaccinated by Sept. 15.
The measures appeared to have had an immediate effect. After Macron announced them two weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of French residents booked appointments for their first shot within hours. Booking platforms called the surge a record.
About 60 percent of the population has now received at least one dose in a country previously known as one of Europe’s most vaccine-skeptical nations. A recent poll showed that 76 percent of French people view the vaccination requirement for health workers favorably.
But the moves also generated a backlash from those who argue they go against France’s bedrock principles of liberty and equality. Around 160,000 protested the changes last Saturday, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen called the plan “an attack on freedoms and equality between citizens.”
Greece and Hungary also announced plans this month to require that health-care workers be immunized. Italy has had a vaccine mandate in place for health workers, including pharmacists, since early April, after the country discovered clusters of infections in hospitals where staff refused to take the vaccine.
Yesterday Agence France-Presse reported that governments around the world are racing to head off the deadly delta surge and that Biden is offering new incentives to vaccine holdouts and Israel is authorizing booster shots.
The global coronavirus situation is a mixed one: while some places like the French territory of La Reunion and Spain's Catalonia region are instituting new curbs, others are easing up on restrictions.
Portugal said it would lift its anti-virus measures in several phases from Sunday, with shops and restaurants allowed to open for longer hours and working from home no longer compulsory.
But at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, already delayed by a year due to the pandemic, the virus continued to wreak havoc, with nearly 200 infections among the athletes, media and employees taking part in the Games.
...Japan hit a new record for the number of daily cases-- more than 10,000-- on Thursday, and a state of emergency already in place in Tokyo was to be extended to four more regions.
"The current situation is the worst ever," a top government advisor on the virus, Shigeru Omi, warned, according to national broadcaster NHK.
In Mexico, the national statistics institute said more than 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus were recorded in 2020-- 35 percent more than originally reported by the government.
And in China, where the novel coronavirus first emerged in the city of Wuhan, small outbreaks driven by the Delta variant were reported in three provinces.
China is racing to vaccinate at least 65 percent of its 1.4-billion population by the end of the year.
So far, the virus has killed more than 4.1 million people around the world, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources. The United States has the highest death toll, at more than 612,000.
The 10 countries with the most new cases yesterday:
Florida has a smaller population than any of these countries but once again-- like every single day for the last couple of months-- led the U.S. in most new new cases (17,589). Why Florida, instead of California or Texas that have much bigger populations? Ron DeSantis, the governor, appears to be on COVID's side not on Floridians' side. "Rejecting calls from local elected officials and the medical community, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will not declare a state of emergency despite the state leading the nation with 20% of all new COVID-19 infections-- a spike largely driven by the delta variant. Meanwhile, multiple Florida mayors have announced mask and vaccine mandates, defying the governor, who is firmly opposed to any pandemic restrictions. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said masks will again be required at indoor county facilities in the populous Florida county, following new federal guidance recommending that even people vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear facial coverings in some situations... In Orange County, home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, Mayor Jerry Demings went a step further and said all 4,200 nonunion county employees will be required to get their first coronavirus vaccine shot by the end of August and the second shot by the end of September... In recent weeks, the state has seen a huge spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths."
Remember, DeSantis-- more and more frequently being referred to as "DeathSantis" by Floridians-- is fighting with everyone who wants to fight the pandemic. "Despite a surge of COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Friday morning and said he would not be deterred by 'a movement to impose more restrictions on the American people. In Florida, there will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures, there will be no restrictions and no mandates in the state of Florida,' the governor said during his appearance at a restaurant in Cape Coral. DeSantis said Floridians will be free to choose what is best for them and that the state will protect its residents’ right to work, for businesses to operate and for students to attend school in person. He also said he will be signing an executive order to issue emergency rules for 'protecting the rights of parents,' which will allow them to decide whether their children should wear masks in schools."
DeSantis thinks this will help his reelection efforts and catapult him into the 2024 Party of Death presidential nomination. Writing for Vox this morning, Ian Millhiser reported that COVID vaccine mandates are legal.
In 1902, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, faced a smallpox outbreak. In response, the local health board ordered the city’s residents over the age of 21 to be vaccinated against this disease. Violators faced a $5 fine.
After a local pastor was fined for violating this vaccine mandate, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court told him to pound sand in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905).
“The liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint,” Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote for the Court. He added that “there are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good.”
...[M]andates will undoubtedly trigger lawsuits from vaccine resisters. In some cases, individuals with religious objections to vaccines or people with disabilities that preclude them from being vaccinated will have strong legal claims-- much like schoolchildren who can already seek exemptions from schools’ vaccination requirements if they have religious objections.
But, assuming that the courts follow existing law-- and assuming that Republican state governments do not enact new laws prohibiting employers from disciplining workers who refuse to be vaccinated-- most challenges to employer-imposed vaccination requirements should fail.
...Neither Congress nor President Biden can likely force citizens to be vaccinated, although the federal government can use financial carrots and sticks to encourage vaccination.
...Congress could still use financial incentives to encourage vaccination.
The simplest way to do so would be to pay people to get vaccinated or to offer a tax break to everyone who gets the vaccine. The tax code gives all sorts of benefits to taxpayers who engage in activity that Congress deems desirable-- ranging from buying a home to having a child to driving an electric vehicle.
Another option is to require unvaccinated people to pay a much higher percentage of their income in federal taxes in order to incentivize them to become vaccinated. Such a policy might elicit some outrage, but it’s entirely constitutional even under NFIB.
But Congress also has fairly broad authority to attach conditions to federal benefits. It could require everyone who receives health coverage through a federal program such as Medicare, Medicaid, or the Affordable Care Act to become vaccinated if they want to keep those benefits.
One group the federal government could easily impose vaccines on: immigrants. Federal law already requires foreign nationals who apply for an immigration visa or who want to become lawful permanent residents to be vaccinated against certain diseases. The government could add a Covid-19 vaccine to this list.