Although the Occupational Safety and Health Act “is not a catchall to be leveraged when Congress has not otherwise authorized federal action,” the plaintiffs say, “that is precisely how it is being used here.” The White House presented the ETS as part of a broader effort to boost the nationwide vaccination rate. The aim, it said, is to “reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans by using regulatory powers and other actions to substantially increase the number of Americans covered by vaccination requirements.”
But the federal government has no general authority to protect public health, control communicable diseases, or require vaccination, all of which are primarily state responsibilities. That is why the administration decided to couch the vaccine mandate as a workplace safety measure. We’ll see whether the courts think that description fits.
Debate #3: Should healthy health care workers (particularly young ones <40) be mandated to receive boosters? I would argue no; evidence that this strategy will protect their patients is absent, and moreover current rates of nosocomial transmission are already so low it will be hard to improve on. The argument it is needed to ensure a work force in the winter season is undermined by mandates which result in some people being fired (i.e. further lowering work force)
Debate #4: Should the AAP and CDC continue to recommend we mask 2-year olds against the World Health Organization advice? Uh… no. We have to finally admit we never had evidence for this policy.
Debate #5: Should schools continue to have masking mandates? The CDC should have tested this policy with cluster RCT, but already the day to sunset it has come. It should end promptly.
Much of the media dealt with the upturn in Britain’s fortunes in a much simpler way. They ignored it. In more than a few instances, they explicitly claimed that cases were still rising. Interviewing Boris Johnson on 2 November, two weeks after cases peaked, CNN’s lead anchor, Christiane Amanpour, asserted that ‘there’s a big spike in Covid in this country and the record here is worse than it is elsewhere in Europe’. The following day, deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam was asked in a BBC interview: ‘Why are schools not putting masks in place, with cases rising in school-age children?’ And Sky News tweeted: ‘With the UK’s coronavirus epidemic escalating by the day, it’s no longer a case of if Plan B will be triggered but when, say experts.’
Everyone knows the media prefer bad news to good news, but there was something almost pathological about this refusal to look the facts in the face. Could it be sheer ignorance?
On 9 November, the Evening Standard reported: ‘UK Covid deaths soar to 262.’ And the Sun ran the headline: ‘UK daily Covid deaths hit 262 in highest rise in a WEEK.’ It was a Tuesday. Anyone with even a passing interest in the statistics knows that the NHS always reports fewer deaths over the weekend and then catches up with the backlog on Tuesday. It is therefore almost inevitable that the ‘highest rise in a week’ will be seen on a Tuesday and that the figure will appear to ‘soar’ if you compare it to a Monday (which is what the Evening Standard did). When compared to the previous Tuesday, however, the number of deaths had actually fallen.
Senior officials in the health service made matters worse by making outlandish claims which veered into anti-vax territory. The Health Service Journal quoted ‘one of the most respected chief executives in the NHS’ saying: ‘This is far worse than January – the vaccine hasn’t saved us this time.’ On the same day, the chief executive of NHS England, Amanda Pritchard, beclowned herself by telling the preposterous lie that we ‘have had 14 times the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 than we saw this time last year’. When it was pointed out that there are actually 30 per cent fewer people in hospital with Covid than this time last year, she ‘clarified’ that she was comparing August 2021 to August 2020 and added the frankly unbelievable claim that she didn’t have more recent figures.
Pritchard told the original fib while calling on the public to get their booster shots. Perhaps she thought that by massaging the figures she could turbo-charge national paranoia and put a rocket under the vaccination campaign. If so, she may have been mistaken. Her words were nectar to the smiley-faced ‘sceptics’ since they appeared to prove that the vaccines were not only useless but that the hospitals were virtually empty last November, as they had claimed at the time.
The vaccine mandates are a prime example of a short-sighted health policy. For example, firing nurses will put health care systems at risk of being overwhelmed, harming the sick and vulnerable.