Coronavirus pandemic update
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US President Joe Biden announced a series of new measures to combat the spread of the Delta Coronavirus variant, including calling on states to provide $100 incentives and instructing federal staff to produce vaccination certificates or wear masks.
One of Biden’s biggest moves on Thursday was to force federal workers to choose between vaccinations and wearing masks.
“Anyone who has not proven that they have been fully vaccinated, no matter where they are, and keeps physical distance from all other employees and visitors, must wear a mask at work, comply with the weekly or twice-weekly screening test requirements, and Restricted on official travel,” the White House said.
This requirement will apply to federal government employees and on-site contractors.
The government said it will also encourage private sector companies to follow suit.Some have already announced policy Employees returning to the US office are required to show proof of vaccination, including Google and Facebook.
The American Federation of Government Employees, a union representing 700,000 federal workers, reacted cautiously to this announcement.
“According to today’s announcement, our understanding is that according to President Biden’s proposal, the vast majority of federal employees do not have to make vaccinations a condition of employment, but those who choose not to vaccinate may face certain restrictions.”
Biden also encourages state and local governments to use their share of the US$350 billion in stimulus funds to provide incentives for vaccination, from cash payments to vaccination draws.
The President proposed to provide a cash reward of $100 for those who vaccinate. The Ministry of Finance confirmed on Thursday that the stimulus funds can be used for vaccination rewards.
“Programs that provide reasonably expected incentives to increase the number of people who choose to be vaccinated, or programs that motivate people to vaccinate earlier than otherwise, are funds that are allowed, as long as such costs are reasonably proportional to the expected public health benefits, “The Ministry of Finance said.
Biden’s statement on Thursday highlighted the growing concerns of White House officials. The rise of Delta variants In recent weeks, this has broken people’s optimism about the United States’ fight against the pandemic and has begun to pose a threat to economic recovery.
“This is an American tragedy,” Biden said in a speech on Thursday. “People are dying, and they will die, they don’t have to die. If you are not vaccinated there, you don’t have to die.”
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of new Covid-19 cases in the United States has exceeded 80,000 per day in recent weeks, which is higher than the average of approximately 13,000 per day in late June. The latest daily level exceeds last year’s levels during the summer tide that mainly affected the Sunbelt states.
Vaccination coverage rates in Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama are all below the national average, and their reported population-adjusted daily infection rates are among the highest in the country. Texas this week reported more than 10,000 new infections in one day for the first time since February.
The CDC attributed the recent increase in cases to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant. People who have not been vaccinated account for the vast majority of hospitalized and severe cases.