The Washington Post reported Thursday evening that President Joe Biden is thinking of playing hardball with anti-vaxxers continuing to spread COVID-19 throughout the United States.
The administration is looking at how to use the White House's regulatory power to force safety requirements. While there are legitimate reasons that some patients' doctors don't want them to get the vaccine yet or some religious faiths have a long-time, documented anti-medicine approach, most anti-vaxxers are denying the shot on conspiracy grounds.
In the past, Biden has used incentives to encourage the vaccine. He's worked with private sector employers and states that have offered million-dollar lotteries, prizes and scholarships to spur vaccinations. The new delta-variant has been another thing currently encouraging people to get the vaccine as there has been a 39 percent increase in deaths since the variant. Of those who have died, 99 percent are anti-vaccine people.
Biden's "effort could apply to institutions as varied as long-term-care facilities, cruise ships and universities, potentially impacting millions of Americans, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations," said the report. "The conversations are in the early phases and no firm decisions have been made, the people said."
Red states have already moved to try and block the use of masks and vaccine passports, causing further problems among businesses that want to protect customers and employees. The mask ban in Arkansas, for example, will likely lead to the state closing schools again, said one state senator this week.
"There is a particular focus in the discussions on whether restrictions on Medicare dollars or other federal funds could be used to persuade nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities to require employees to be vaccinated, according to one of the people familiar with the talks," said the report.
It would be a drastic step that isn't typically Biden's leadership style, but a lighter piece of the proposal could be part of the next steps.
In a new speech, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican, demanded that all politicians who encourage people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 should be voted out of office.
"Anybody that takes this vaccine needs to be voted out of office," said Robinson, to applause from his audience. "It's not your job to convince anybody to take that vaccine. That's not your job. Your job is to make sure it's available to anybody who wants it. That's your job. And you should give them good, solid, scientific information about that vaccine and about the virus so that they can make an informed decision for themselves. I don't care whether it's Governor Cooper. I don't care whether it's Joe Biden. Nobody should be telling anybody that they should have to take this vaccine."
Robinson went on to say that he knows several doctors who don't want the vaccine.
A former gun rights activist, Robinson has come under fire for hateful speech on social media. He has called gay people "devil-worshipping child molesters," the teenagers who survived the Parkland school shooting "silly little immature media prosti-tots," transgender identity a "mass delusion" to "glorify Satan," and repeatedly attacked both Jews and Muslims.
Local school board meetings are still going haywire as right-wing parents lose their minds over mask mandates. California schools intend to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) for ushering in a mask mandate, which could prove to be the first case law on the topic.
But in North Carolina, things got so heated that the school board members simply adjourned and walked away, leaving the angry crowd still screaming at them.
One woman wearing a black t-shirt saying "Unmask our kids" and what appears to be pajama pants, wagged her finger saying she wasn't leaving until there was another vote.
"I'm not leaving until you do a revote for the people, by the people, and of the people," she said.
It's unclear if she made good on her promise not to leave until there is a revote. She very well could still be in the building after the meeting ended.
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