The U.S. had the most COVID-related deaths again yesterday-- and no country is even close when it comes to overall COVID deaths... and, unfortunately not everyone who died in the last few days earned that the way William Hartmann and Marcus Lamb did. The dozen countries with the most deaths yesterday (along with overall totals)
USA- 1,494 (total- 804,862)
Russia- 1,226 (total- 276,419)
Poland- 570 (total- 84,153)
Ukraine- 557 (total- 86,532)
Germany- 415 (total- 102,552)
Mexico- 296 (total- 294,246)
India- 285 (total- 469,532)
Brazil- 266 (total- 615,020)
Turkey- 196 (total- 77,038)
Vietnam- 196 (total- 25,448)
Hungary- 192 (total- 34,713)
UK- 171 (total- 145,140)
5,241,398 people have been reported dead of COVID worldwide, a number than could well be just half of the actual total. But worldwide totals don't much much to Americans anyway. Every deaths of other Americans don't mean much to Americans. From the earliest days of the pandemic, I've predicted that public opinion won't swing in favor of strict containment until between a million or two million Americans die. I think the latter is a better guess.
Right-wingers have been in a state of hysteria about the government-- particularly Biden's government-- trying to protect Americans from the pandemic. And now the worst of them, led by Mike Lee (R-UT), trying to burnish his image among Utah MAGA-Nazis who have fallen out of love with him-- are threatening to shut down the government to protest Biden's very modest vaccine mandates. The 11 far right extremists can do it procedurally by hogging floor time for about 9 days.
Last night, reporting for the Associated Press, Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking, wrote that most Republicans are thrilled with the whole idea.
“I just hate to see a shutdown-- shut down the government-- because people have been through a lot,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said while exiting the lunch session.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) told reporters that with the new coronavirus variant: “There’s too much chaos in our country right now, too much concern about omicron. The last thing we need is more confusion and fear.”
Minority leader Mitch McConnell has been opposed to the shutdown strategy, according to a Republican granted anonymity to discuss private conversations. He did not say a word during the private lunch, but publicly McConnell has been upbeat that there will be no shutdown of the federal government.
“We’re going to be OK,” McConnell (R-KY) told reporters in the halls of the Capitol.
The Biden administration has pursued vaccine requirements on several groups of workers at it seeks to get more shots in arms to crush the virus, but the effort is facing one setback after another in legal cases.
This week, a federal judge blocked the administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on thousands of health care workers in 10 states. Earlier, a federal appeals court temporarily halted the OSHA requirement that employers with 100 or more workers ensure they are fully vaccinated.
The administration has previously implemented policies requiring millions of federal employees and federal contractors, including military troops, to be fully vaccinated. Those efforts are also being contested in federal courts.
Polling from The Associated Press shows Americans are divided over Biden’s effort to vaccinate workers, with Democrats overwhelmingly for it while most Republicans are against it.
Some Republicans prefer an effort from Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) to simply vote to reject the administration’s mandates in a congressional review action expected next week, separate from the federal funding fight.
From the White House, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was confident the government funding bill would be approved by Congress and routine federal operations would not shut down this weekend.
“We have every confidence they will move forward and prevent the government from shutting down,” Psaki said.
She was highly critical of Republicans seeking to prevent the mandates from going into effect.
“These supporters of the former president are advocating for shutting the federal government down, so that 20% of the public who are refusing to get vaccinated or tested can be free to infect their coworkers, our children, filling hospitals,” Psaki said. “They want to shut the government down in order to advocate for people to assert that on society.”