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POTUS urges federal employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine or face strict testing requirements

President Biden also encouraged state and local governments to give people $100 to get the coronavirus vaccine

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President Joe Biden holds a face mask as he makes an announcement from the East Room of the White House.

President Joe Biden holds a face mask as he announces from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 29, 2021, that millions of federal workers must show proof they’ve received a coronavirus vaccine or submit to regular testing and stringent social distancing, masking and travel restrictions in an order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Susan Walsh, Associated Press

President Joe Biden is giving federal workers an ultimatum — prove they’ve been vaccinated or face strict masking and testing requirements in the workplace, The Associated Press reported.

The president announced new federal employee COVID-19 vaccination guidelines in a White House speech on Thursday afternoon.

  • “It’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Biden, reported the AP. “People are dying who don’t have to die.”
  • Federal employees who don’t prove they’ve been fully vaccinated, the White House said in a press release Thursday, “will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement and be subject to restrictions on official travel.”

Will $100 encourage people to get vaccinated?

The president also encouraged state and local governments to offer a $100 to people to get the coronavirus vaccine and that those governments could fund the program with federal coronavirus relief money, reported the AP.

  • “The Justice Department has made it clear that it is legal to require COVID-19 vaccines,” Biden said in his speech.

Biden, speaking to families, said America’s school-aged children can’t afford another year out of the classroom in pandemic lockdown.

  • “Parents, get your children vaccinated. You do it for so many other things right now,” Biden said. The CDC has said the COVID-19 vaccine is currently safe for children 12 or older.

The commander in chief also said he directed the Department of Defense exploring adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of other vaccines required for military service members, the AP reported.

Biden speech comes just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance on the use of masks by vaccinated Americans. On Tuesday, the CDC recommended that masks be worn indoors in public by vaccinated people if they are “in an area of substantial or high transmission.”

The health agency updated its guidance after finding that fully vaccinated people carry the same COVID-19 viral load as unvaccinated people, meaning they can infect those who remained unvaccinated.

Department of Defense will require masks in COVID-19 hotspots

The Department of Defense has ordered that vaccinated and unvaccinated military service members, civilians and contractors inside DOD facilities located in coronavirus hotspots wear a mask, Military Times reported Wednesday.

  • “Deputy Secretary Hicks has directed that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor settings at Department of Defense installations and facilities in areas of substantial or high transmission, as defined by the CDC, to protect against rising COVID-19 cases,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Jamal Brown said in a statement Wednesday.
  • Brown added that the updated mask guidelines also applied to visitors of those DOD-owned facilities.

Masks also required in the House, again

The use of face masks will once again be required in the U.S. House of Representatives, National Public Radio reported Wednesday. Congressional physician Dr. Brian Monahan said the order does not apply to the Senate, reported NPR.

  • “The chair wishes to inform all members and staff that masks will be once again be required in the Hall of the House. However, members will be permitted to remove their masks temporarily while under recognition,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on the chamber’s floor Wednesday.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has rebuffed such directives as unscientific.

  • In response to new CDC guidance on mask use, McCarthy said, “Make no mistake — the threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state,” Fox News reported.

COVID-19 vaccines are saving lives

In late June, a year and half since the start of the pandemic, The Associated Press reported that the coronavirus was still killing hundreds of Americans every day — and nearly all of those deaths are among the unvaccinated.

  • Vaccinated people accounted for .08% of all coronavirus deaths in May, according to the AP.
  • White House pandemic adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said the delta variant has caused a huge spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide and that the uptick could last into the fall, the Deseret News reported.
  • “This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated, warned Fauci.