Vaccine mandate news – live: Republicans ‘will not comply’ with DC mandate after Supreme Court blocks Biden – The Independent

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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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New York mayor: Bring workers back in and send kids to school

New York City Mayor Eric Adams used a press conference on Friday morning at Steinway & Sons factory in Astoria, Queens to urge businesses to bring employees back in from remote working, and for parents to send their kids to school.

Mr Adams is keen to return the city to regular activity despite a daily average number of Covid-19 cases in excess of 25,000 due to the Omicron variant.

“We cannot run a city as complex as New York remotely,” Mayor Adams said.

He also urged all New Yorkers to make sure they had all their vaccinations and booster shots up-to-date and outlined the city resources available for both physical and mental health problems related to the pandemic.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 16:50

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WHO recommends two new drugs to treat Covid

The World Health Organization has recommended two new drugs for Covid-19, providing yet more options for treating the disease. The extent to which these medicines will save lives depends on how widely available and affordable they will be.

The first drug, baricitinib, is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical Covid. It is part of a class of drugs called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors that suppress the overstimulation of the immune system. WHO recommends that it is given with corticosteroids.

Baricitinib is an oral drug, used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It provides an alternative to other arthritis drugs called Interleukin-6 receptor blockers, recommended by WHO in July 2021.

WHO has also conditionally recommended the use of a monoclonal antibody drug, sotrovimab, for treating mild or moderate Covid in patients who are at high risk of hospitalisation. This includes patients who are older, immunocompromised, have underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, and those unvaccinated.

Sotrovimab is an alternative to casirivimab-imdevimab, a monoclonal antibody cocktail recommended by WHO in September 2021. Studies are ongoing on the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies against Omicron but early laboratory studies show that sotrovimab retains its activity.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 16:40

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Preventing airborne spread of Covid is doable – here’s how

Professor Christina Pagel and Dr Adam Squires explain how stopping the airborne spread of Covid is perfectly doable by taking the right steps.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 16:30

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Labor Secretary: Employers will still be encouraged to have workers vaccinated or tested

Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh confirmed the Biden administration’s stance that, in spite of the Supreme Court ruling denying the right of OSHA to enforce a vaccine mandate on firms of more than 100 employees, they will continue to encourage employers to enforce their own vaccination and testing rules.

He said: “We will continue to encourage all employers to have their workers get vaccinated or tested weekly. Many companies are already doing this, and have found it is the best way to keep workers safe from the deadly virus.”

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 16:20

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Ms Reid’s also said: “At this point … have they not just simply stated by their actions that they are more in favor of right-wing politics … than they are in favor of saving lives? They don’t really care if this causes less people to die, clearly.”

Her guest, Supreme Court lawyer Neal Katyal, responded: “Today’s decision on vaccines, it’s such a threat to public safety. And the idea that the Supreme Court is responsible for it, it’s really hard to imagine. The justices are now living in their own bubble.”

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 16:02

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MSNBC’s Joy Reid slams Supreme Court justices for stopping vaccine mandate

MSNBC presenter Joy Reid slammed the Supreme Court’s decision to halt President Biden’s employer vaccine mandate on her Thursday evening show, calling the conservative justices “right-wing ideologues”.

“I have to say, I don’t have faith in this Supreme Court. I think they’re ideologues. I think they’re right-wing ideologues. I think they’re sort of doing a Christian nationalist version of whatever it is the Supreme Court used to do,” Ms Reid said.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 15:50

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Senate Democrats want answers on why at-home tests were not rolled out earlier

A small group of Senate Democrats is pressing the Biden administration about the Covid-19 testing shortage as Omicron cases have soared across the US.

CNN reports, that in a letter to White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients on Thursday, led by Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen, the group asks “why the administration failed to take more significant steps earlier to increase access to at-home tests.”

They praise the promotion and distribution of vaccines across the nation, but are fiercely critical of how slowly tests have been rolled out.

“Far too many measures — such as increasing access to home-based testing — have been reactive, rather than proactive,” the letter reads.

“This administration either knew or should have known that testing shortages were occurring across the country over the past several months, and with the full expectation that the virus would likely mutate into a new variant, steps to increase testing access should have happened before the current wave hit, not several weeks into the surge, with resources still not available until later this month or beyond.”

Other signatories of the letter are senators Mark Kelly of Arizona, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Jon Ossoff of Georgia.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 15:40

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How does the cost of rapid test kits in the US compare to other countries?

Spoiler alert: Before President Joe Biden announced plans to pay for the tests, the comparison was not favourable.

Alex Woodward has the details.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 15:30

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‘Awful’ Covid impact ‘could be debated’ says Fox News host

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro is facing a furious backlash after calling the historic devastation of Covid-19 into question.

The comment came during Wednesday’s episode of Fox NewsThe Five, just after co-host Geraldo Rivera warned against downplaying the pandemic’s impact.

Nathan Place reports.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 15:10

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Joe Rogan admits he looked ‘dumb’ during vaccine debate

Rogan has come under fire for the past two years for inviting several vaccine sceptics onto his show, where he allows them to air unsubstantiated or disproven theories about Covid-19.

Roisin O’Connor reports.

Oliver O’Connell14 January 2022 14:50

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