Today's down the middle coverage starts with a controversial facet of the coronavirus pandemic. Should American workers be required to be vaccinated? In an effort to pressure more Americans to get one of the country's three available COVID vaccines, U.S. President Joe Biden announced new rules last week.
Among them concerns all businesses that have 100 or more employees, they have to require these workers either to get vaccinated or to be tested for COVID every week. This could100 million workers or 2/3 of the American workforce according to the president. At hospitals or other medical care facilities that get government healthcare funding, roughly 17 million workers will have to be inoculated. Federal government employees will have to get the vaccine without the option of regular testing, but the new mandate does notapply tomembers of Congress.
So, representatives, Senators and the people who work for them will not have to get a vaccine. President Biden blames politics and unvaccinated Americans for spreading COVID-19 and threatening the hinder the recovery of the American economy. But critics point to CDC data that shows more than 11,000 Americans have been hospitalized and more than 2,600 have died even though they were already vaccinated.
Many Americans still have concerns about the health effects of the vaccines and because they were developed last year, any long-term effects they may have are unknown. One of America's top infectious disease specialists says, many more vaccine mandates may be necessary to get the coronavirus pandemic under control, but there are a lot of questions about whether people can get exemptions to the mandate for medical reasons or religious beliefs, or if they'verecovered fromthe virus and have natural immunity.
The responses from employers have been mixed. Some large companies like Amazon and Walmart support the mandates and hope they'll lower their healthcare costs and reduce the number of sick days their employees need to take. But others are concerned about losing workers who refuse to get the vaccines, at a time when many businesses are struggling with a shortage of workersto begin with.
A number of lawsuits have been filed against companies that require vaccines before the government mandate was announced, and at least 19 Republican governors havespoken out againstthe Democratic president saying a government mandate will only increase the determination of some people not to get vaccinated. And that workers shouldn't lose their jobs over a personal medical decision. Again, this is just one example of one debate concerning coronavirus in America, we expect the subject to be in the news for months to come.