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US Running Out of Time to Limit Dangerous Covid Surge: White House Medical Advisor Dr. Fauci

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Washington: With the holiday season approaching in the US, the country is running out of time to prevent the “dangerous” new surge of Covid-19 cases, warned chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, even as he asked the fully vaccinated to ditch masks. The US is seeing a fresh surge in Covid infections, with cases approaching 100,000 per day for the first time in weeks.Also Read – West Bengal: Kolkata Metro Withdraws Weekend Restrictions | Check Important Details Here

Experts fear that the Thanksgiving holiday this week when millions of Americans will gather for indoor celebrations with family and friends, will fuel a further surge, the Guardian reported. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it was not too late to avoid a significant worsening of Covid rates leading up to Christmas and New Year. If adults get fully vaccinated as well as take booster shots, and also vaccinate children aged five to 11, it may help to subdue the virus. Also Read – Where does India Stand on COVID-19 Booster Shots? Policy on Rolling Out Third Vaccine Dose Likely by Nov End, Says Report

“We still have about 60 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not been, and that results in the dynamic of virus in the community that not only is dangerous and makes people who are unvaccinated vulnerable, but it also spills over into the vaccinated people,” Fauci was quoted as saying on CNN on Sunday. Also Read – French Researcher Warns Of Constitutional Crisis In America

“We have a lot of virus circulating around. You can’t walk away from the data, and the data show that the cases are starting to go up, which is not unexpected when you get into a winter season. People start to go indoors more and we know that immunity does wane over time. The bottom line is get vaccinated if you’re not vaccinated, and boostered if you have been vaccinated. Since we can vaccinate children from five to 11, you start vaccinating them now [and] they will be fully vaccinated by the time we get to the Christmas holidays,” he said.

In the last two weeks, the daily average of new cases in the US has risen 29 per cent, according to an analysis by The New York Times.

Meanwhile, the 2021 US death toll from Covid has also surpassed that of 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Data published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nearly 196 million people, or 59 per cent of the total US population is fully vaccinated. But about 26.6 per cent of the eligible population, or 83 million people, have yet to receive a first dose.

Meanwhile, Fauci also stated that if people are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, they can ditch their masks this holiday season.

“That’s what I’m going to do with my family,” Fauci was quoted as saying to CNN.

However, the nation’s top infectious disease expert also noted if you are travelling or are unaware of the vaccination status of the people around you, then you should wear a mask in those situations. While vaccine manufacturers have suggested that annual boosters might be necessary to keep Covid-19 at bay, Fauci said it’s still unclear if boosters will be needed annually.

“We would hope, and this is something that we’re looking at very carefully, that that third shot with the mRNA (vaccine) not only boosts you way up, but increases the durability so that you will not necessarily need it every six months, or a year,” he was quoted as saying on ABC News.

“We’re hoping it pushes it out more. If it doesn’t and the data show we do need it more often then we’ll do it.” As of Monday morning, the US continued to be the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 47,730,591 and 771,118, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

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Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Are Losing in Court

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President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the coronavirus response and vaccinations during a speech at the White House, August 23, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Joe Biden’s effort to use the federal government to mandate the COVID vaccine is not faring very well in the courts. In early November, the Fifth Circuit halted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine mandate almost as soon as it was announced. After hearing briefing and argument, it extended the stay. Now, we have a battery of additional decisions from the federal district courts.

Today, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Kentucky, Gregory van Tatenhove (a George W. Bush appointee), issued an injunction blocking the vaccine mandate for employees of federal-government contractors and subcontractors. The injunction applies throughout three states (Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee), the state governments of which were plaintiffs in the case. The court, citing the Fifth Circuit’s opinion in the OSHA case, was unconvinced that the Biden administration had the authority to do this:

While the statute grants to the president great discretion, it strains credulity that Congress intended…a procurement statute to be the basis for promulgating a public health measure such as mandatory vaccination. If a vaccination mandate has a close enough nexus to economy and efficiency in federal procurement, then the statute could be used to enact virtually any measure at the president’s whim under the guise of economy and efficiency…Although Congress used its power to delegate procurement authority to the president to promote economy and efficiency federal contracting, this power has its limits…If OSHA promulgating a vaccine mandate runs afoul of the nondelegation doctrine, the Court has serious concerns about the FPASA, which is a procurement statute, being used to promulgate a vaccine mandate for all federal contractors and subcontractors. [Bold added.]

Yesterday and today, federal judges in Louisiana and Missouri entered injunctions against vaccine mandates for the staff of 21 types of Medicare and Medicaid health-care providers, enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and planned to go into effect next Monday. Monday’s ruling was by Judge Matthew Schlep of the Eastern District of Missouri (a Trump appointee), and applies to ten states (Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming), all of which were plaintiffs in the case. Judge Schlep, too, cited the lack of statutory authorization:

While the Court agrees Congress has authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services…general authority to enact regulations for the “administration” of Medicare and Medicaid and the “health and safety” of recipients, the nature and breadth of the CMS mandate requires clear authorization from Congress—and Congress has provided none…Courts have long required Congress to speak clearly when providing agency authorization if it (1) intends for an agency to exercise powers of vast economic and political significance; (2) if the authority would significantly alter the balance between federal and state power; or (3) if an administrative interpretation of a statute invokes the outer limits of Congress’ power. Any one of those fundamental principles would require clear congressional authorization for this mandate, but here, all three are present… [E]ven if Congress has the power to mandate the vaccine and the authority to delegate such a mandate to CMS—topics on which the Court does not opine today—the lack of congressional intent for this monumental policy decision speaks volumes. [Bold added.]

He also noted the long delay in issuing a mandate, which — as in the case of OSHA’s mandate — undercuts the Biden administration’s claim of urgency and its basis for acting in high-handed fashion without full consideration of comments from affected parties:

[T]wo vaccines were authorized under Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) more than ten months before the CMS mandate took effect, and one vaccine was fully licensed by the FDA well over two months before…[S]ince the onset of COVID, CMS has issued five…mandates, such as the one here; the most recent on May 13, 2021…One could query how an “emergency” could prompt such a slow response; such delay hardly suggests a situation so dire that CMS may dispense with notice and comment requirements…and the important purposes they serve.

The COVID pandemic is an event beyond CMS’s control, yet it was completely within its control to act earlier than it did…CMS looked only at evidence from interested parties in favor of the mandate, while completely ignoring evidence from interested parties in opposition…In fact, CMS foreclosed these parties’ ability to provide information regarding the mandate’s effects on the healthcare industry, while simultaneously dismissing those concerns based on “insufficient evidence.”…But facts do not cease to exist simply because they are ignored, and stating that a factor was considered is not a substitute for considering it. [Bold added; quotations and citations omitted.]

He further observed that “the failure to take and respond to comments feeds into the very vaccine hesitancy CMS acknowledges is so daunting” and found it irrational that “CMS rejected mandate alternatives in those with natural immunity by a previous coronavirus infection.” Should judges be flyspecking the reasoning of administrative agencies? Maybe if they stuck to ordering things they clearly had the power to order, that would be a fairer question.

Finally, today, Judge Terry Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana (a Trump appointee) enjoined the CMS mandate in the other 40 states. The nationwide scope of his injunction is more debatable, although fourteen states (Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio) were before the court as plaintiffs, and the ruling is clearly properly tailored to the parties to the case. Judge Doughty is in the Fifth Circuit, so he felt himself bound by the similarity of the CMS mandate to the OSHA mandate. He was similarly critical of the process:

It took CMS longer to prepare the interim final rule without notice than it would have taken to comply with the notice and comment requirement. Notice and comment would have allowed others to comment upon the need for such drastic action before its implementation.

He was also unpersuaded that CMS had the authority to issue such far-reaching rules without anything resembling a specific authorization from Congress:

None of these statutes give the Government Defendants the “superpowers” they claim. Not only do the statutes not specify such superpowers, but principles of separation of powers weigh heavily against such powerful authority being transferred to a government agency by general authority…if the Government Defendants have the power and authority they claim (to mandate vaccines for 10.3 million workers), these government agencies would have almost “unfiltered power” over any healthcare provider, supplier, and employees that are covered by the CMS Mandate. If CMS has the authority by a general authorization statute to mandate vaccines, they have authority to do almost anything they believe necessary, holding the hammer of termination of the Medicare/Medicaid Provider Agreement over healthcare facilities and suppliers. [Bold added.]

We have a government of enumerated powers. Congress is supposed to make laws that are to be executed in enumerated ways. Assuming that it has such an extraordinary power as mandating that Americans take a vaccine, it should either pass a law to exercise that power, or at least pass a law that unambiguously delegates to the executive branch the decision when to exercise it. What we have seen instead is the Biden administration scouring the books for any law – no matter how general or how unrelated to the topic – that seems vague enough to cover the situation. We will see in the end how the Supreme Court resolves these issues, as it inevitably will. But we still have only one legislative branch, and it is not run by the president.

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November saw fewer Covid deaths in Pimpri-Chinchwad, zero fatalities on eight days

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Even as two passengers from Pimpri-Chinchwad who returned from high-risk countries have tested positive for Covid, the month of November brought some relief to the industrial city as it witnessed fewer deaths due to infectious disease compared to the last few months.

According to PCMC health officials, 22 citizens succumbed to Covid-19 in November, the lowest figure in the last four months. In August, 54 died while in September, the figure was 39. In October, the deaths doubled as 83 lost their lives.

According to health officials, in the month of November, on at least 8 days, Pimpri-Chinchwad did not register a single death. “Otherwise, mostly the city registered a solitary death on most days,” officials said.

The first Covid death was registered last year on April 11. To date, there have been 4,511 related deaths in the industrial city.

The health officials said the Covid positivity rate has also gone down considerably in the month of November. “The COVID positivity rate is now below one per cent,” said Dr Laxman Gofane, medical officer. The current positivity rate is 0.78 per cent and the overall positivity rate is 12.67 per cent.

Officials said vaccination has also picked momentum with 25 lakh citizens so far receiving either first or both vaccine doses. Every day 10-15,000 citizens are receiving their vaccine doses at 200 civic and private vaccination centres.

Besides, in November, more patients recovered than the number of those admitted.

Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil said, “Since last one month, Covid deaths and positivity rate have come down. However, citizens should continue to observe Covid appropriate behaviour. Wearing mask, maintaining social distancing and washing hands regularly is essential to keep COVID at bay.”

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Internet swoons over Joe Biden’s bodyguard, comparing him to Tom Cruise in Top Gun

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Joe Biden’s security team is making headlines across the globe — but not for any act of bravery.

A member of his security detail took the attention off the US President during his Thanksgiving trip to Nantucket, thanks to his dashing good looks and striking similarity to a Hollywood superstar.

The unknown agent, who has been dubbed the “Tom Cruise” of the secret service, has now gone viral after footage of him was posted on social media.

The video, posted by TikTok user @life_with_Matt, has already notched up more than 400,000 views.

“Forget about the President, the Secret Service be looking fine,” he wrote on the video caption.

Other TikTok users seemed to agree, posting hundreds of comments, before they were promptly turned off.

However the video was reposted by another user, who left the comments on.

“Defending the nation with hotness,” one person wrote.

“That man is too fine,” wrote another.

Joe Biden’s security team is making headlines across the globe — but not for any act of bravery.
Camera IconJoe Biden’s security team is making headlines across the globe — but not for any act of bravery. Credit: TikTok

Another said: “I am a heterosexual man but this video made me feel things.”

The agent, casually dressed in khaki pants, a knit sweater, a black trench coat, and classic black Wayfarers, drew just as many comparisons to Tom Cruise.

“He’s conveying Tom Cruise to me in Top Gun vibes,” noted one fan.

The Bidens are back at the White House but visited the tiny Massachusetts island at the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving.

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