White House says free Covid tests can be ordered from Wednesday – latest

White House says free Covid tests can be ordered from Wednesday - latest
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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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DeSantis: Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh lack ‘backbone’ over medical vaccine mandate

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh lack a “backbone” following their decision regarding the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

Mr DeSantis criticised them during an appearance on the conservative podcast Ruthless on Friday.

“On the nurse mandate and the doctor mandate, Roberts and Kavanaugh joined with the liberals to allow the nurse mandate,” he said.

“So here’s what’s going on, think about how insane this is,” Mr DeSantis continued. “Now, in Florida, we protected the nurses, so we have people that are working. But in other states, they fired nurses who were not vaccinated.”

He said that in some hospitals in states where this was not the case they had allowed vaccinated but Covid-positive employees back to work as they were so short-staffed.

“So they have Covid-positive people back on, meanwhile the unvaccinated, likely immune through prior infection, healthy nurses are on the sidelines fired,” the governor said, again calling the policies insane.

“Roberts and Kavanaugh did not have a backbone on that decision,” he added. “That’s just the bottom line.”

The governor said he would continue to protect the right of unvaccinated medical staff to work.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 21:25
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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.

How to spot fake KN95 masks

The CDC has estimated that around 60 per cent of KN95s in the US are counterfeit, here’s how to spot them

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.

GOP senator dubbed a ‘moron’ by Fauci claims to be drafting ‘FAUCI Act’

A spokesperson for Senator Marshall says he is introducing the Financial Accountability for Uniquely Compensated Individuals Act to make federal officials’ financial disclosure forms more easily accessible

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.

White House says 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.

Gino Spocchia reports.

Judge dismisses case against mom accused of forcing child into trunk

District attorney plans on reviewing ‘all the evidence gathered by police’

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 19:25
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Covid death toll under Biden soon to eclipse that under Trump

The death toll from Covid-19 during the presidency of Joe Biden will soon overtake the number of people who died from the illness while Donald Trump was in the White House.

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.

Covid death toll under Biden will soon overtake number dead under Trump

‘If next November we’re still living under a cloud of Covid, then we can add it to the list of reasons why the Democrats will get shellacked in the midterms,’ Democratic strategist says

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 19:05

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