On Meet the Press today, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten came out-- finally-- in favor of a vaccine mandate. That's a reversal of AFT policy, calling getting vaccinated "a community responsibility," but 10% of her union's members remain unvaccinated.
This afternoon, The Hill reported that "Public and private sector vaccine mandates are gaining steam amid the nationwide surge of COVID-19 infections, which is driven largely by the spread of the virus's delta variant among the unvaccinated. After months spent trying to coax and cajole the reluctant into getting vaccinated with million-dollar lotteries, free beer or even college scholarships, local governments, businesses and universities are now looking to force the issue."
To one extent or another New York City, Maryland, Virginia and California are rolling out vaccine mandates, while Biden avoids responsibility by pretending the federal government doesn't have the power to do anything. Like Nancy Pelosi told him-- albeit over his pretend-powerlessness in the eviction moratorium-- "get better lawyers." Meanwhile, "Many GOP governors preemptively banned mandates and passports in any form, including from private employers. 'It’s not something I support,' Florida Gov. Ron DeathSantis (R) said Thursday when asked about hospitals mandating employer vaccination."
The Hill also reported today-- in an OpEd by Glenn Altschuler, Republicans are the 21st-century Know-Nothing Party-- that "As of last month, 97 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives would not say publicly if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Asked if he was worried about the virus spreading or mutating, Cramer replied, 'Nah... You know me. I haven’t been worried about this since the beginning.' Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said, 'I’m talking to doctors who have, since day one, been concerned about vaccinating people who’ve already had COVID-19 because you die, not of COVID; you die of the immune system overreaction to COVID.' Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) blasted the Biden administration’s plan to go door to door to urge Americans to get vaccinated: 'They could then go door to door to take your guns. They could go door to door to take your Bibles.' Peter Feaman, a Republican National Committee member from Florida, recently called vaccines 'the mark of the beast.'"
If you want to talk about beasts, talk about Republican governors purposefully subjecting their states to new and deadly spikes of COVID, particularly Greg Abbott (TX), Mike Parson (MO), Doug Ducey (AZ) and Kevin Stitt (OK). And, worst of all, Ron DeathSantis (FL). Ian Hodgson, reporting for the Tampa Bay Times over the weekend, noted that Florida had reported 134,506 new cases for the week ending August 5. That's more than the next two states-- Texas and California, each of which has a far bigger population than Florida-- combined! "At more than 19,000 infections per day, it’s the state’s highest infection rate since the start of the pandemic. The latest tally brings the total number of cases up to 2,725,450 since the pandemic’s first two cases in Florida were reported 17 months ago on March 1, 2020. The state added 616 deaths since the previous week’s report, bringing the total statewide number of pandemic deaths to 39,695. The report indicates that 175 deaths occurred in the past seven days, but it can take officials up to two weeks to confirm and report a coronavirus-related death."
Florida administered 380,576 doses of vaccine in the past week, nearly 50,000 more than the week before. Included in the count are 278,375 who received their first dose of the vaccine.
So far 63 percent of Florida residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the state. About 53 percent of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated.
That still leaves 64 percent of Florida’s total population not fully protected, including children 11 and under who are not eligible to receive the vaccine.
Vaccination rates are highest among Florida’s older adults. Eighty-five percent of Floridians over the age of 65 have been vaccinated, and 78 percent of those ages 60 to 64 have been vaccinated, according to state data.
The largest vaccination gains was among teens and young adults for the second week in a row: 41 percent of those 12 to 19 are vaccinated, and 43 percent of those 20 to 29 and 49 percent of those 30 to 39 have received the vaccine.
In Hillsborough County, 58 percent of residents age 12 and up have been vaccinated; in Pinellas, 61 percent; in Pasco, 58 percent; in Manatee, 60 percent; in Polk, 55 percent; in Hernando, 52 percent; and in Citrus, 54 percent.
These are the counties with the half dozen most fully vaccinated adults-- along with what percent of their 2020 votes went to Trump. Then I'll list the half dozen least vaccinated counties and their 2020 Trump vote percentages.
Sumter Co.- 69% vaccinated (Trump- 67.9%)
Miami-Dade Co.- 62% vaccinated (Trump- 46.1%)
Monroe Co.- 60% vaccinated (Trump- 53.5%)
Sarasota Co.- 57% vaccinated (Trump- 54.8%)
Collier Co.- 55% vaccinated (Trump- 62.0%)
St. John's Co.- 54% vaccinated (Trump-6 2.8%)
Our numbers differ from the ones cited by the Hodgson because he's going by at least one jab and we're using the NY Times fully vaccinated stats. Those were the most vaccinated counties; these are the least vaccinated:
Holmes Co.- 21% vaccinated (Trump- 89.1%)
Baker Co.- 21% vaccinated (Trump- 84.7%)
Union Co.- 23% vaccinated (Trump- 82.2%)
Washington Co.- 23% vaccinated (Trump- 80.1%)
Dixie Co.- 23% vaccinated (Trump- 82.8%)
Glades Co.- 24% vaccinated (Trump- 72.8%)
"Florida’s positivity rate," continued Hodgson, "rose to 18.5 percent in the past week, up from 18.1 percent the week before. Before reopening, states should maintain a positivity rate of 5 percent or less for at least two weeks, according to the World Health Organization. A positivity rate of 5 percent or less indicates testing is widespread enough to capture mild, asymptomatic and negative cases... Florida had 12,864 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Friday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s the highest level of hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 12,227 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted to Florida hospitals from July 29 to Aug 4. That’s an increase of about 3,300 new hospitalizations compared to the prior seven-day reporting period."
And there's a lot more damage DeathSantis can do before Floridians can be rid of him after the 2022 election.