Opinion: Biden’s New COVID Rules Are Not Mandates. They’re Incentives.

President Joe Biden./Kevin Lamarque via Reuters
President Joe Biden./Kevin Lamarque via Reuters

By Sammy Quarrato

 

   President Biden has recently issued a series of incentives to get more Amiercans vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic to where the country could start a return to some sense of pre-pandemic America. While these should be understood simply as incentives, most media outlets that are covering this news are labeling Biden’s actions as a “vaccine mandate.”

   This is simply not true when you actually get into the details of the set of rules and regulations that President Biden has issued.

   If you work for a company of 100 or more employees, you either have to be vaccinated OR get COVID-19 tests once a week. This applies to 80 million workers. This alone should show anyone that this is not a mandate. If it were, there would not be a choice for people to either get vaccinated or go over the small hurdle of getting tested once a week.

   This stipulation also removes a major barrier for those who wished to be vaccinated but couldn’t by making companies with 100 or more employees give their workers paid time off to get the shot. These companies even cover employees after vaccination if they are feeling under the weather.

   However, if you work for the federal government, or if you currently have or want a government contract, you must be vaccinated. Also, if you work at a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare settings that participate with Medicaid or Medicare, you must be vaccinated since these programs are government-run.

   According to a Politico/Morning Consult Poll, requiring all companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly tests has the support of 57 percent of Americans. This figure is stacked against 36 percent of respondents who oppose requiring federal workers to get vaccinated without the option of testing. Similar figures, with a majority being in favor and a hearty minority being in opposition can be found for mandating healthcare workers to get vaccinated.

   We even have numbers from states that show us this is becoming a pandemic mostly for the unvaccinated. According to the Department of Health of Pennsylvania, 94 percent of reported cases, 95 percent of hospitalizations, and 97 percent of COVID-related deaths are from those who are not vaccinated.

   Neighboring New York also shows that vaccines have been tremendously effective, with only 0.5 percent of breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated New Yorkers who are 12 and over.

    If you want to look at an even bigger picture, the United States as a whole has seen less than one percent of COVID-related deaths in those who were fully vaccinated. This picture becomes even more clear when you see that out of the 173 million fully vaccinated people in the United States, only 0.01 percent of them have been to the hospital and/or died.

   All of this information above can be found published by Fox News, who have been incredibly critical of Biden’s “vaccine mandate.” This is the same network where political commentators such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity have been hyper-critical of Biden’s decision and have often casted doubt on the vaccine. This all becomes interesting when you discover that Fox News is even more strict on COVID-19 regulations than what Biden issued, having 90 percent of staffers being vaccinated. While those who are unvaccinated are required to take daily (not weekly) tests.

   But while Fox commentators like Hannity admitted to being vaccinated, conserative radio hosts have been dying left and right from COVID due to their staunch anti-vaccine stances. Some have even regretted not getting vaccinated while on their deathbed, which is something no one should look at with glee, especially since they are leaving friends and family behind from something they could have easily avoided with the vaccine.

   Not one child should have to get out of bed to look for their loving parent or grandparent and be hit with the reality they aren’t in this world anymore. Or when they call out for their loved one in the middle of the night to get tucked in and are only met with silence.

   And this doesn’t just affect kids, 1 in 500 Americans have died of COVID-19. These are people’s parents, grandparents, siblings, husbands, wives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and so forth.

  What President Biden has done is something that is necessary, yet those who are saying that he has failed with COVID are now saying he’s doing too much to solve it.

   All in all, this is a necessary step for us to get out of this pandemic and to bring us to the road of a pre-pandemic world.

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