COVID Update: What did President Biden announce today and why.

The story. Follow if interested here. 1/
President Biden’s announcement today that federal workforces and on-site contractors must demonstrate that they are not infectious is as much about ensuring safe workplaces as it is driving up vaccinations. 2/
The federal workforce, over 2 million civilians, serves the public. And his commitment to keep them safe while they do that is one of his commitments as a leader. 3/
His announcement is respectful of people’s choices.

Wear a mask, physically distance, and demonstrate a negative test result either 1x or 2x per week OR avoid all thst by getting vaccinated. 4/
Is this intended as a first step? Yes. In the following ways:

-The President is looking at all federal contractors. They would be wise to start implementing this policy if they want federal business.
-Secretary Austin is being directed as to how & when they will do the same. 5/
Health care is in sharp focus:

-The VA is implementing vaccinations for all providers & others who touch patients. We have lost too many veterans not to do this
-50 leading health care societies are recommending the same for all health care & long term care workers 6/
But there’s more to the president’s announcement and it is this: we don’t give up on anyone, ever.

Research shows that many of the unvaccinated are still not able to get time off of work. If you work an hourly job cleaning hotel rooms and you’re not given time off, keeping your job can supersede taking care of your health. 8/
The President announced today that small & medium-sized businesses will be reimbursed for allowing employees AND THEIR FAMILIES time off to get vaccinated.

1/2 the workforce does NOT get paid time off to get vaccinated. And we have seen that 3/4 get vaccinated when given PTO. 9/
Because some still aren’t getting PTO or have a difficult time getting to a vaccine site (or just need a nudge), the President is calling on all states, tribes & territories to use ARP funds (funds the fed govt supplied) to provide $100 to those who choose to get vaccinated.10/
We want to go on offense against COVID?

This is how we do it. Use this moment. 10/
1. Major private employers, universities, and venues are beginning to follow suit. And many more will. And everyone should. It is respectful of those who choose not to be vaccinated.

More importantly it’s respectful of those not eligible to get vaccinated. 11/
2. The populist anti-vaccine/it’s up to you/all government action is tyranny crowd are being drowned out by reality.

Republicans are beginning to speak out. Delta is bringing them off the sidelines.

Arkansas and Alabama have 90% increases in vaccinations as the Govs push.12/
3. When they thought the pandemic was over they decided to fight a culture war. Now that they know it’s serious, those still yelling look like who they are: cranks who crave attention. 13/
4. The Administration is not taking misinformation lying down.

The social media platforms have been called to account. 80% of the lies getting to the unvaccinated can be made to disappear with little effort. 14/
The Biden Administration can do so much. The CDC can do so much. The FDA can do so much. But none of it would be enough.

Today the President kicked into motion the next stage of what he has always talked about: a national effort where everyone does their part. 15/
Calling on other people to do stuff is easy. Doing your part is where we need to start.

If every business, school, social media platform, and local government asked what more they could do & did it, we would make the gains and it would encourage others. 16/
We are best when we act collectively. On the few times over the course of the pandemic when we have— providing relief packages, voluntarily staying home, sewing masks for workers, rolling out the vaccine this year— we are winning. When we don’t, we all lose.
These actions from the President wing be universally popular, but they are what I witnessed from my time in the Administration: leadership.

It gives so many of us an opportunity to do the same. /end

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More from @ASlavitt

30 Jul
COVID Update: An internal document from CDC shows Delta is a whole “new war.”

First real estimates of spread & breakthrough cases. And a clear sense of why CDC policies are changing.

More here soon. 1/
Point 1: Vaccines work. They dramatically reduce the risk of cases (8x) & even more so serious cases (25x). But they don’t work perfectly.

With 165 million fully vaccinated people, they estimate 7,000 breakthroughs/day. 2/ Image
A thorough discussion of breakthrough cases & vaccine efficacy is here in this discussion with what Pfizer sees in the data. Worth listening to to understand. 3/
Read 19 tweets
28 Jul
As of this week, the dam is beginning to break publicly so I will comment. Google just announced a vaccination requirement, the VA has, CA has, NY has and others are on the path.

Including Biden publicly commenting that this is being considered 4 all federal ees & contractors.2/
Let me step back cover something:

First, what are we talking about here?

We’re talking about safe workplaces.

What we’re not talking about?

Violating anybody’s individual liberties. 3/
No one is requiring anyone to get vaccinated. What these leaders are doing is requiring people to demonstrate they are not contagious.

Either by getting vaccinated or by showing a negative test result several times/week. 4/
Read 11 tweets
27 Jul
COVID UPDATE: CDC is revising its mask guidance today.

Been gathering info before the announcement and will cover below. Follow if interested?
The new guidance will recommend that vaccinated people in higher risk areas wear masks in higher risk areas. 2/
As with almost every change in guidance, some people will think this is too slow to come; some will think it’s too fast a change & backtracking.

While criticism will be constant (& the lifeblood of Twitter), none of that is the way I think about it. 3/
Read 12 tweets
26 Jul
COVID Update: Is there evidence of the vaccine’s immunity waning? What does new data showing lower efficacy in Israel mean? 1/
Several weeks ago reports started coming out of Israel, the first country to drive widespread vaccination, that the vaccines were showing lower efficacy against moderate symptomatic COVID. (Against severe COVID, the vaccine is still highly protective with a slight dropoff.) 2/
A more recent study made public late last week showed lower efficacy still among the same group at 39% and severe COVID at closer to 90%, also a drop, though more modest. 3/
Read 21 tweets
23 Jul
COVID UPDATE: What’s changed and what’s stated the same since I wrote the tweet that said vaccinated people have far greater things to worry about then the Delta variant?

And what would I say now? 1/
Let’s look at what’s changed?

We have significant growth in cases. So far those are largely among unvaccinated people. And serious cases are almost entirely among unvaccinated people. 2/
There are areas of the country where there are low vaccination levels that are experiencing the largest growth in cases? Hospitalizations are following.

While we can’t say for sure, the death rates look to be dramatically lower given vaccination protection in the elderly. 3/
Read 22 tweets
16 Jul
COVID Update: In most countries, the greatest threat are variants & the lack of vaccines.

In the US it’s different. Very different. 1/
Vaccines are broadly available in the US. To understand the significance of this, you need to talk to people in other countries.

I’ve spent much of the week talking to officials & media in Australia. Oh how they wish they were in the US. 2/
Australia didn’t buy enough vaccines and the one they bought has run into problems. They are low vaccinated & not likely to get vaccines until September. Cases are rising & they’re on lockdown.

Rough winter for them. (They believe winter is in July for some reason). 3/
Read 10 tweets

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