Covid News: Biden Urges Companies to Impose Vaccine Mandates

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Biden Urges Private Employers to Require Covid Vaccines

President Biden encouraged large private companies to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for their workers, arguing that the existing requirements his administration put in place have proved effective against Covid-19.

The Labor Department is going to shortly issue an emergency rule, which I asked for several weeks ago, and they’re going through the process, to require all employees with more than 100 people, whether they work for the federal government or not, this is within the purview of the Labor Department, to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or face testing at least once a week. In total, this Labor Department vaccination requirement will cover 100 million Americans, about two-thirds of all the people work in America. And here’s the deal. These requirements are already proving that they work. Starting in July, when I announced the first vaccination requirement for the federal government, about 95 million eligible Americans were unvaccinated. This was mentioned a little bit earlier. Today, we’ve reduced that number to 67 [million] eligible Americans who aren’t vaccinated. And today, we released a new report outlining effective vaccination requirements that are already proving their worth. I’m calling on more employers to act. My message is require your employees to get vaccinated. With vaccinations, we’re going to beat this pandemic finally. Without them, we face endless months of chaos in our hospitals, damage to our economy and anxiety in our schools and empty restaurants, and much less commerce. Look, I know that vaccination requirements are a tough medicine, unpopular with some, politics for others, but they’re life-saving and game-changing for our country.

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President Biden encouraged large private companies to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for their workers, arguing that the existing requirements his administration put in place have proved effective against Covid-19.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Biden on Thursday appealed to private companies to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for employees, asking them to take initiative as an effort that he announced last month to require 80 million American workers to get the shot undergoes a lengthy rule-making process and may not go into effect for weeks.

The president, delivering remarks at a construction site outside Chicago, said that encouraging Americans to get vaccinated had helped, but it had not gone far enough to address the pandemic.

“Even after all of these efforts, we still have more than a quarter of the people in the United States who are eligible for vaccinations but didn’t get the shot,” Mr. Biden said. “That’s why I’ve had to move toward requirements.”

He said mandates had not been his first instinct, but the requirements were “already proving that they work.”

Mr. Biden said in September that he would use the full force of his presidency to push some 80 million American workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, reaching into the private sector to mandate that all companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing. He ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to draft a new rule that would make those requirements enforceable, a process that White House officials said at the time would take at least three or four weeks.

The president said on Thursday that the rule would be put in place quickly, but officials familiar with the process said it was likely to take several more weeks.

In the meantime, Mr. Biden sought to shift responsibility toward companies, which he said would help lead the United States out of the pandemic: “Businesses have more power than ever before to change the arc of this pandemic and save lives.”

Mr. Biden chose to visit the Chicago area in part because it is the home of United Airlines, one of the first major carriers to require shots for its 67,000 U.S. employees. Other airlines have followed with similar requirements, including American Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines. The president spoke at a site controlled by Clayco, a construction company that has required vaccines and testing for its employees.

Credit…Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

Over a 15-month period of the pandemic, more than 120,000 children in the United States had a parent or caregiver die from Covid-19, a loss that more severely affected racial minorities, according to a modeling study published in the medical journal Pediatrics on Thursday.

The study estimated that for every four Covid-19 deaths between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, one child lost a parent or caregiver. The finding suggested that the ongoing pandemic, which has claimed more than 700,000 American lives thus far, could leave tens of thousands of children dealing with trauma for generations to come.

“It’s not just one of 500 are dead; one of 500 American children have lost their mommy or daddy or grandparents who took care of them,” Dr. Susan Hillis, the lead author and a researcher and epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview.

In addition to the 120,630 children who were estimated to have lost a primary caregiver — a parent or grandparent responsible for providing housing, basic needs and care — 22,007 lost a secondary caregiver, or a grandparent providing housing but not most basic needs, the study projected. Dr. Hillis said the loss of such grandparents could lead to homelessness.

The new findings aligned with research that has repeatedly demonstrated that racial minorities have been disproportionately vulnerable to the pandemic.

According to the study in Pediatrics, one of every 168 American Indian/Alaska Native children, one of every 310 Black children, one of every 412 Hispanic children, and one of every 612 Asian children have lost a caregiver, compared to one in 753 white children.

Credit…Diana Bagnoli/Getty Images

ROME — Italy’s government said on Thursday that it would lift one of the country’s last coronavirus restrictions by permitting dancing in nightclubs, bringing relief to a sector of the economy that has lagged behind in Italy’s reopening.

“It’s a new beginning,” said Sergio Maria Ortolani, a publicist for several music venues in Rome, who welcomed the decision. This summer, the police shut down one club for five days after a group of customers danced to techno music. “It was a horror movie,” he said.

Starting on Monday, club owners can take down “Dancing Forbidden” signs, and bouncers will no longer need to rebuke patrons for moving with the music.

About this data

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The daily average is calculated with data that was reported in the last seven days.

The government banned dancing in nightclubs in the summer of 2020 after several coronavirus outbreaks were linked to partying and unmasked teenagers. As Italy gradually lifted its second lockdown this spring, nightclubs, dance halls and theaters were allowed to serve drinks, host concerts and play music, but dancing remained prohibited.

At clubs, Italians nervously nodded to the music and tapped their feet as they sat in front of D.J. booths. Some invented sit-down choreographies in their chairs. Others tried to convince dubious bouncers that they just had a spirited way of walking.

Mr. Ortolani — whose business lost about 95 percent of its income during the pandemic — said he and his partner had glued down tables to clog up the dance floors in their nightclubs. They lowered the music’s tempo to make it less danceable and instructed security guards to “tackle” anyone would dance. When the guards couldn’t keep up, they stopped the music, to the crowd’s jeers.

“We tried to stop them in every way,” he said. “It was a war.”

The government’s announcement on Thursday followed similar decisions by Germany and France to allow fully vaccinated patrons, or those who have recovered from the coronavirus, to…

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