Biden Vaccine Rule for Health Workers Blocked in 10 States

Associated Press reported:

A federal judge on Monday blocked President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on thousands of healthcare workers in 10 states that had brought the first legal challenge against the requirement.

The court order said that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid had no clear authority from Congress to enact the vaccine mandate for providers participating in the two government healthcare programs for the elderly, disabled and poor.

United States Will Bar Travelers From 8 Countries in Southern Africa

The New York Times reported:

President Biden will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other African countries to try to contain a troubling new variant of the coronavirus, senior administration officials said on Friday, though they said it would be impossible to prevent it from entering the United States.

Starting on Monday, the administration will prohibit travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi from coming to the United States, the officials said.

The travel ban will not apply to American citizens or lawful permanent residents, officials said. But they will need to show a negative coronavirus test before coming to the United States.

Court Temporarily Halts San Diego Unified’s Student COVID Vaccine Mandate

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Sunday temporarily blocked San Diego Unified’s student COVID-19 vaccine mandate from going into effect — one day before the school district’s deadline for students to get their first dose.

The court sided with a 16-year-old junior at Scripps Ranch High School who had sued last month saying San Diego Unified’s vaccine mandate violated her religious beliefs.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision Sunday came 11 days after a federal judge in San Diego denied the student’s request for a restraining order against the district’s mandate.

NYC Reinstitutes COVID Mask Advisory ‘at All Times’ Indoors Regardless of Vaccination Status

CNBC reported:

New York City on Monday issued an advisory strongly recommending that everyone wear masks indoors at all times regardless of vaccination status, amid concern about the new, highly mutated strain of COVID named Omicron.

Dr. David Chokshi, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said it will probably be a matter of days before Omicron is detected in New York City.

He said the city has a strong surveillance system that can rapidly identify Omicron when it arrives.

Court Blocks COVID Vaccine Mandate for California Prisons

Associated Press reported:

A federal appeals court on Friday temporarily blocked an order that all California prison workers must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or have a religious or medical exemption.

A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request for a stay of September’s lower court order pending an appeal. It also sped up the hearing process by setting a Dec. 13 deadline for opening briefs.

The vaccination mandate was supposed to have taken effect by Jan. 12 but the appellate court stay blocks enforcement until sometime in March, when the appeal hearing will be scheduled.

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Some Hospitals Prepare to Lose Staff Over COVID Vaccination Mandate

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Some hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare providers are preparing to operate without up to a third of their staff at the start of next year, if those workers don’t comply with a federal mandate to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Biden administration is requiring facilities that receive funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to have workers vaccinated by Jan. 4.

Two dozen states are challenging the requirement in court.

WHO Warns That New Virus Variant Poses ‘Very High’ Risk

Associated Press reported:

The World Health Organization warned Monday that the global risk from the Omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with “severe consequences.”

It came as a widening circle of countries around the world reported cases of the variant and moved to slam their doors shut while scientists race to figure out just how dangerous it might be.

Japan announced it would bar entry of all foreign visitors, joining Israel in doing so. Morocco banned all incoming flights. Other countries, including the U.S. and members of the European Union, have moved to prohibit travelers arriving from southern Africa.

UK Tightens COVID Restrictions Following Omicron Variant Infections

The Hill reported:

The United Kingdom (U.K.) is tightening COVID-19 restrictions after two Omicron variant cases were found in the country on Saturday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a press conference Saturday that the new restrictions will last for three weeks while scientists learn about how quickly the new variant can spread and if the vaccine is effective against it, CBS News reported.

The “targeted and precautionary measures” include mandating that people wear masks on public transportation and in stores. Those traveling internationally also must get a COVID-19 PCR test the second day after entering the U.K. and quarantine until the test comes back negative, according to Johnson.

Lara Logan Says Coronavirus Is Inside Our Bones in Speech Viewed 500k Times

Newsweek reported:

Lara Logan attacked President Biden‘s COVID-19 strategy and said hundreds of coronaviruses could be found in our bones in an impassioned speech that has since gone viral on social media.

While speaking on the Fox News show Justice with Judge Jeanine, the Fox Nation host also warned the U.S could be locked down “for the rest of our existence.”

Also on the show was Fox News contributor Dr. Marc Siegel who criticized Joe Biden‘s lack of testing. A clip of the interview has begun to go viral with it being viewed over 500,000 times. The entire interview can be viewed here.

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4 GOP-Controlled States Are Changing Their Unemployment Laws to Allow Those Defying COVID Vaccine Mandates to Get Benefits

Business Insider reported:

Republican-controlled legislatures in four states are changing their unemployment laws so that people who have been fired or quit their jobs over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate can claim unemployment benefits.

The Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee state legislatures all changed their unemployment insurance rules in recent weeks to allow those refusing to comply with vaccine mandates to claim benefits.

D.C. Area School Systems Discipline Employees Who Flout Coronavirus Vaccination Requirements

The Washington Post reported:

School systems in the Washington region are beginning to take disciplinary action against employees who have missed their deadlines to get vaccinated against the , with some workers already placed on leave and at least one person fired.

But at the same time, some have suspended vaccination mandates amid concerns about staffing shortages or testing programs, and as young learners, ages 5 to 11, are getting their shots.

Over 2,000 People Protest Against COVID Measures in Prague — Reports

Sputnik News reported:

More than 2,000 people took to the streets in the Czech capital on Sunday, protesting against fresh coronavirus restrictions, Czech TV reports.

The demonstrators, mostly young people under the age of 30, were not wearing face masks and were calling on the Czech government to lift the bans on mass gatherings, cancel limited hours for bars and night clubs and allow unvaccinated people to participate in cultural and sports events.

Dutch Police Say They’ve Arrested Couple Who Were Trying to Flee COVID Quarantine

CNBC reported:

Dutch border police have said they’ve arrested and detained a couple who left a coronavirus quarantine hotel and were trying to leave the country.

The couple, a man from Spain and a woman from Portugal according to Dutch media reports, had been asked to quarantine after one of them tested positive for COVID on arrival in the Netherlands on a flight from South Africa.

The CEO of Cosmetics Retailer Lush Says He’s ‘Happy to Lose’ $13 Million by Deleting Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat Accounts Over Teen Mental-Health Harms

Business Insider reported:

Cosmetics company Lush shut down its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat accounts globally on Friday, citing its concern about the harms of social media in the wake of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s revelations.

“In the same way that evidence against climate change was ignored and belittled for decades, concerns about the serious effects of social media are going largely ignored now,” the company said in its press release earlier this week.

What Facebook Will Look Like in 2035

Forbes reported:

The predictions of Facebook’s demise might be a bit premature.

The truth is that this social network will evolve over the next 15 years into something we barely recognize today.

One of the most prominent companies in Big Tech isn’t going to slide into oblivion anytime soon, with around 3 billion users and a parent company (now called Meta) with vast cash reserves.

Battle for the Soul of a New Web

Axios reported:

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech‘s hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it “Web3.”

Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today’s tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.

Reith Lectures: Artificial Intelligence and Why People Should Be Scared

BBC News reported:

Prof Stuart Russell, founder of the Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence, at the University of California, Berkeley, is giving this year’s Reith Lectures.

His four lectures, Living With Artificial Intelligence, address the existential threat from machines more powerful than humans — and offer a way forward.

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