The Supreme Court on Friday hearing oral arguments on two major Biden administration efforts to increase the country’s vaccination rate against COVID-19 — starting with the mandate requiring large-scale employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested.
In the first case, the National Federation of Independent Business, et al., Applicants v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al.
OSHA is more specifically requiring businesses with 100 or more workers either require them to be vaccinated or et tested weekly and wear masks while working, with exceptions for those who work outdoors.
It’s 2022 but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s still 2020—especially if you have children enrolled in K-12 district schooling. Some parents are grappling this week with a return to, or threat of, remote learning first introduced nearly two years ago.
Fear of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus is leading school officials across the country to once again shutter schools. In Cleveland, for example, this first week of school for the new year is entirely remote for public school students. Several districts throughout Ohio are following suit, while others are re-imposing 2020 virus-related restrictions or extending the holiday break into this week.
Newark, New Jersey public schools announced they will be fully remote for the next two weeks, as did other districts throughout the state. Public schools in Atlanta will also be closed this week, reverting back to remote learning.
America has basically run out of tests for Covid-19 as lines are forming at emergency rooms, urgent care facilities and doctors’ offices, and now patients are simply being turned away nationwide. In the meantime, tests are being rationed to those with greater risk factors just a month after President Joe Biden was pushing “test to stay” in order for Americans to be allowed to go to work, school and to travel.
This comes as the Institutes for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) project an estimated 1.9 million probable Covid infections in the U.S per day — and rising. By the end of January, IHME estimates as many as 2.8 million new cases per day, largely thanks to the new omicron variant that accounts for 95 percent of all new cases, the Centers for Disease Control say.
For perspective, last year, IHME estimated cases peaked at over 500,000 a day in early Jan. 2021.
The day after the St. Louis County Council voted 4-3 along party lines to enact a mask mandate, Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit to stop it.
Schmitt, a candidate for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, filed a 17-page petition in St. Louis County Circuit Court on Wednesday. Last week, St. Louis and Jackson Counties filed an appeal with the Missouri Court of Appeals over the November ruling by a Cole County Circuit Court stating all COVID-19 public health orders were null and void.
Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Thursday to introduce legislation that would regulate candidates and elected officials from spreading lies about elections that are likely to result in violence.
The legislation, which is still being written and has yet to be released, would be “narrowly tailored” to cover “false statements” made for the “purpose of undermining the election process or results,” according to Inslee’s announcement.
“This legislation attempts to follow the relevant U.S. and state supreme court opinions on this issue. We’re talking about candidates and elected officers knowingly throwing bombs at democracy itself when doing so is likely to result in violence,” Inslee said in a statement.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook made nearly $100 million in compensation in the company’s fiscal year, according to SEC filings published Thursday.
SEC filings show that Cook took home $98.73 million in the 2021 fiscal year, more than 500% more than the previous year’s $14.8 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Cook’s $3 million base salary remained stable in 2021, but he received a $12 million bonus for hitting Apple’s financial and environmental sustainability goals, $1.39 million in other compensation and $82.35 million in stock awards.
The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims increased to 207,000 in the week ending Jan. 1 as workers seek more attractive positions with better pay and Omicron coronavirus variant cases surge.
The Labor Department figure shows a 7,000 claim increase compared to the week ending Dec. 25, when claims reached a revised level of 200,000. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected claims would decrease to 195,000.
The top Republican on the House committee that oversees U.S. Capitol security is blasting Speaker Nancy Pelosi for refusing to release key evidence showing the security planning prior to the Jan. 6 riots and is warning that the police force that protects lawmakers has not reformed itself enough to avoid another tragedy.
“We know there were intelligence analysis failures at the Capitol Police,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) told the John Solomon Reports podcast during an interview Thursday on the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riots. And frankly, John, I don’t think those have been corrected yet.
Mortgage rates soared to their highest level since the beginning of the pandemic in the first week of 2022, according to Freddie Mac.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.22% in the week ending on Jan. 6, up from a 3.11% average during the previous week and marking the highest level since May 2020, Freddie Mac announced Thursday. The 30-year rate dropped to 2.65% in early 2021, its lowest level on record.
“Mortage rates increased during the first week of 2022 to the highest level since May 2020 and are more than half a percentage higher than January 2021,” said Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, according to a company release.
Republican leaders slammed President Joe Biden after December’s jobs report released Friday reported numbers well below economists’ projections, highlighting the report as another example of how the president mishandled the post-pandemic recovery.
The U.S. economy added only 199,000 jobs in December while unemployment dipped to 3.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected that the economy would add 422,000 jobs in December and that unemployment to fall to 4.1%.
“Our economy should be soaring right now, but the policies of this administration continue to stifle growth and hold back American businesses and workers,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement.
A former Planned Parenthood president and public health professional argued in a Thursday op-ed for The Washington Post that the rise in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant is not a reason to keep schools closed.
Dr. Leana Wen argued “both sides [of the school reopening debate] are wrong,” in her op-ed. “let’s agree that schools are essential and then work to reduce risk to get students back to in-person learning,” Wen wrote.
Wen called it “astounding” that governors in states like Texas, Georgia and Iowa are fighting against school mask mandates and that Florida’s surgeon general is discouraging testing in schools, attributing ” “low vaccine uptake among children” to “rampant right-wing disinformation.”
The International Rescue Committee’s Tucson office received a $250,000 federal grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in refugee, immigrant and migrant (RIM) communities.
The Tucson IRC office is one of 23 organizations around the U.S. to be awarded such a grant.
Religious employees in Arizona who suffer an injury due to being required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by their employer will have a remedy if a proposed bill makes it into law. State Rep. Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott), along with several co-sponsors, introduced HB 2043 that makes employers liable for a “significant injury” to an employee resulting from the vaccine if the employer denies them a religious exemption.
“This is one of the most important bills I’m introducing this coming session,” Nguyen said in a statement. “The reality is COVID-19 is going to be with us for a long time. Public and private health mandates are not a good solution and could instead cause harm in some cases. If businesses and employers are intent on mandating vaccinations as a condition of employment, they should be held accountable if their employees face serious harm or illness.”