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President Biden announces sweeping new vaccine requirements

WASHINGTON — President Biden acknowledged on Thursday evening that he and many other vaccinated Americans are “frustrated” with the 80 million Americans who have declined immunization against the coronavirus. The needless ravages caused by the Delta variant, he said, were “frustrating” to watch, repeating a word that seemed to signal the evening’s theme.

The president blamed governors playing “pandemic politics” by resisting mask mandates and downplaying the power of vaccines for prolonging the pandemic.

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” he said in a speech from the White House, making clear that he blamed the unvaccinated for the current surge in the U.S. “And your refusal has cost all of us.”

The spring was marked by vaccine incentives, including guns and beer. The summer saw the rise of mandates, including from the president and some governors. Now it is fall, and a level of exasperation has set in. Only 53.4 percent of Americans are vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, giving the coronavirus plenty of opportunities to spread.

The president did virtually nothing to disguise his dismay on Thursday, his own mood mirroring that of many Americans. Schools are closed once again, and the economic recovery is faltering, too. At one point during his remarks, Biden leaned against his podium in the State Dining Room of the White House and, in his trademark stage whisper, addressed the unvaccinated directly: “What more do you need to see?” he asked, apparently referencing the rampant misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vaccines that has prompted millions to refuse inoculations.

Much like the speech he recently gave on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Thursday’s address was raw with emotion, as the most powerful elected official in the world confronted the limits of his power. The Biden administration concluded last spring that it did not have the authority to enforce a national vaccine requirement. Some believe that calculation was mistaken, and that the federal government should have been putting more pressure on the unvaccinated all along. Now the president faces the prospect of a surge that could last for months, since the arrival of cold weather will drive people indoors, where the virus spreads much more easily.

“We’re in a tough stretch, and it could last for a while,” the president admitted. He returned time and again to blame the unvaccinated for the nation’s current predicament, arguing that the holdouts “can cause a lot of damage — and they are.” It was not, in other words, a happy speech, an announcement of benchmarks met or exceeded, of triumphs collected at the expense of a seemingly intractable foe. The Delta variant has relegated such sunny pronouncements to a distant memory, rolling back the progress Biden made during the first several months of his administration.

In recent weeks, the Biden administration has faced criticism that it was too quick to declare victory over the coronavirus earlier this summer, even as it was becoming clear that the highly transmissible Delta variant was on its way. On the Fourth of July, President Biden held a party on the South Lawn of the White House, declaring that the country was on the cusp of “independence” from the virus.

That declaration appears to have been premature. The Delta variant has torn through Florida and Texas before more recently moving on to states like Idaho. The vast majority of the people who havebecoming seriously ill have not been vaccinated, since the coronavirus vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death.

Other than to put the unvaccinated on notice, the purpose of Thursday’s speech was the announcement of six measures intended to increase vaccination rates and hasten the end of the current surge, if not of the entire pandemic. The measures included, most notably, a requirement that all federal employees and contractors get vaccinated, with no exemptions.

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by Anonymousreply 29September 15, 2021 2:14 PM

Biden also called on the Department of Labor to issue a rule requiring all private businesses employing more than 100 people to mandate vaccination, or to administer weekly testing for those who refuse. Hospitals that participate in the federal Medicaid and Medicare programs must also vaccinate their estimated 17 million employees.

Those actions alone, the administration believes, could result in the vaccination of as many as 100 million people, though it is not yet clear how the new orders will be enforced. Federal employees, for example, will have to attest to having been vaccinated. But they will not have to show proof of vaccination.

The new measures also include a preparation for offering booster shots to recipients of the two-dose mRNA vaccines; the Pfizer vaccine, in particular, appears to show decreased efficacy against Delta. Booster shots are nevertheless contingent on approval from the Food and Drug Administration, which has not yet been given.

“As soon as they are authorized, those eligible will be able to get a booster right away,” Biden said, though he provided few details about the timing. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy had previously said that boosters would begin to be administered on Sept. 20, but it is not clear that Biden will be able to keep to that timeline.

In an effort to keep schools open, Biden also promised to reimburse school districts that have imposed mask mandates in contravention of Republican governors who have banned school officials from making facial coverings mandatory. He also called on states to require vaccines for all school employees, which some Democratic governors have already done and which most Republican governors have declined to do.

“Vaccination requirements in schools are nothing new,” the president noted. “They work.”He added that employees of the federally-funded early education Head Start program must also get their shots.

To shore up the economic recovery, Biden said his administration will increase the maximum amount small businesses can borrow from a COVID-related fund from $500,000 to $2 million. And he announced that he would use the Defense Production Act to boost production of rapid at-home diagnostic tests, which some experts believe have been underused as an effective means to catch infections. Those tests, he said, will soon be widely available — at affordable prices — at major retailers such as Walmart and Kroger. The federal government will also increase shipments of monoclonal antibodies to states. The treatments can help people suffering from symptomatic COVID-19 illness and have been used widely in some states, such as Florida.

In addition, Biden said that the Transportation Safety Administration would double fines for people who “refuse to mask.” Scenes of passengers confronting and assaulting airline attendants who ask them to don facial coverings have gone viral on social media throughout the summer, adding an unwelcome new dimension to pandemic travel.

“By the way, show some respect,” the president said angrily to the instigators of such scenes. It was a message in keeping with the evening’s tone, which alternated between prodding, recrimination and, last of all, the promise of better days ahead.

“We have the tools,” Biden said near the end of his remarks. “Now we just have to finish the job.”

by Anonymousreply 1September 10, 2021 12:15 AM

Hurray Joe!

by Anonymousreply 2September 10, 2021 12:26 AM


by Anonymousreply 3September 10, 2021 12:34 AM

Your body. His choice.

by Anonymousreply 4September 10, 2021 12:38 AM

It is ridiculous that he has to be ‘dad’ and tell grown ass people to do the sensible thing. Americans are So fucking irritating.

by Anonymousreply 5September 10, 2021 12:39 AM

Keep swallowing the kool-aide kids.

This report, FROM THE CDC, showed that the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY -- 79% -- of 'breakthrough' covid cases in Massachusetts last month were VACCINATED folks.

I guess Joe missed that.

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by Anonymousreply 6September 10, 2021 12:53 AM

[QUOTE] Your body. His choice.

Eat shit, you MAGAtard.

by Anonymousreply 7September 10, 2021 1:18 AM

R7, read the link at R6, and then get back to us.

by Anonymousreply 8September 10, 2021 1:31 AM

What is your point, R8? Yes, we know vaccinated people have come down with breakthrough cases. But they are less intense bouts with the virus BECAUSE they’ve been vaccinated.

I swear, you unvaccinated / anti-vax people are too stupid to continue sharing air with us.

by Anonymousreply 9September 10, 2021 2:06 AM

First, good to hear a competent adult working with the medical community as opposed to a megalomaniacal child undermining vaccine science.

At this point, I'm short on empathy for the almost half of the miseducated American people who refuse the vaccine but are willing to seek medical treatment.

It's alarming that there is such a small margin between demographics getting vaccinated/or not.

by Anonymousreply 10September 10, 2021 3:15 AM

Projecting much R9?

The point is that overall, far more vaccinated patients got the breakthrough infections than unvaccinated. Yet the media, the 'establishement' -- whoever they are -- keep pushing the opposite of the TRUTH. You can deny it all you want, but there are other studies that show those who have natural herd immunity are LESS likely to get sick again than those who were vaccinated.

by Anonymousreply 11September 10, 2021 4:43 AM

R11 WTF is “natural herd immunity”? Did you hear that on some Alabama chiropractor’s YouTube video?

by Anonymousreply 12September 10, 2021 4:49 AM

R11 uses her essential oils and vitamins, natch! Keep up with the REAL SCIENCE, R12!

by Anonymousreply 13September 10, 2021 5:26 AM

R12. You're an ignorant moron. Which is common these days...it's how we ended up with Trump as president.

But for your education:

Herd immunity (also called herd effect, community immunity, population immunity, or mass immunity) is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

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by Anonymousreply 14September 10, 2021 6:23 AM

I think this is too much.

Businesses should be able to decide employee policies for themselves.

by Anonymousreply 15September 10, 2021 2:34 PM

not when it comes to public health, they shouldnt

by Anonymousreply 16September 10, 2021 2:43 PM

Fuck off, R15.

by Anonymousreply 17September 10, 2021 5:22 PM

More on natural immunity -- there is such a thing Mary -- from Sanjay Gupta on CNN:

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by Anonymousreply 18September 10, 2021 7:36 PM

Of course all postal workers are exempt. Their union gave Ol Joe a ton of campaign money. He’s a decrepit piece of shit. I can’t wait to see the speech where the old fucker starts drooling.

by Anonymousreply 19September 10, 2021 8:13 PM


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by Anonymousreply 20September 10, 2021 8:40 PM

Of course Congressional staffers are exempted as well.

by Anonymousreply 21September 10, 2021 9:07 PM

Good we’ve been held back by the knuckleheads for too long. You want to live and work in the US? You get the vaccine. Period.

by Anonymousreply 22September 10, 2021 9:18 PM

Turns out the whole 'our ICUs are backed up due to people using Ivermectin' is FALSE. As Trump would say, FAKE NEWS.

And here's proof. Oklahoma's KFOR news was the first to run a fake story that made this false narrative explode. September 1, 2021, KFOR reported that emergency rooms were overrun with patients who had overdosed on horse ivermectin. The claim was supposedly made by doctor Dr. Jason McElyea.

But ACCORDING TO THE HOSPITAL -- he hasn't worked there in months -- yet the media ran with it. Including DL fave Rachel Maddow.

And it's stories like these that Trump supporters and other republicans WILL RUN ON IN 2022 and 2024.

Pay attention girls.

And while it doesn't 'cure' covid, it does help to reduce symptoms if used ASAP.

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by Anonymousreply 23September 14, 2021 2:31 PM

R23 = GQP

by Anonymousreply 24September 14, 2021 4:08 PM

R23, as has been said in many a thread:

“ That doctor didn't say ANYTHING about ivermectin overdoses filling the ER.

That's what I'm trying to tell you guys. Watch the KFOR video interview and see for yourself! He NEVER says that. He talks separately about ivermectin potentially causing serious problems, and about the ERs being overflowing with patients, but never links the two together. It's the local journalist who does, then Rolling Stone repeats it in their own article that's taken largely from KFOR's information.”

by Anonymousreply 25September 14, 2021 6:45 PM

[quote] Of course Congressional staffers are exempted as well.

Wait, what?

Please tell me this isn't another case of "Do as I say, not as I do."

by Anonymousreply 26September 14, 2021 7:05 PM

Separation of powers, r26. The president doesn't tell Congress what to do.

by Anonymousreply 27September 15, 2021 12:42 AM

R25, plus a dozen other media outlets, including MSNBC. Where are their fact-checkers?

by Anonymousreply 28September 15, 2021 7:36 AM


Well, we already let businesses decide to destroy our biosphere and decimate our biodiversity. Why shouldn't we let them decide to set their own policies about whether or not to assist the continued spread of a deadly pandemic!

Yay, libertarian paradise! Yay, freedoom 'til the end! Of our lives! And the habitability of our planet!

P.S. Capitalists, please pay us less, we're so excited about when you eventually trickle down on us! Our mouths are open and ready! *tee hee*


by Anonymousreply 29September 15, 2021 2:14 PM
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