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American Coronavirus: Not Getting Vaccinated Against Covid-19 Is Like Driving Drunk, Health Expert Says

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“We have to start talking about the choice to stay unvaccinated as the choice to go out and drive drunk,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Wen’s remarks come after the Biden administration on Thursday announced a mandate plan for the Covid-19 vaccine that orders the US Department of Labor to require all companies with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested once a week. President Joe Biden also signed an executive order requiring all government employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with no option to opt out of regular testing.

And while some Republican officials have criticized his move as overkill, health experts say the president should have implemented tougher measures to curb the recent spate of Covid-19 cases.

“From a public health perspective, it’s not overbreadth at all. And in fact, I wish they’d come out sooner and gone even further,” Wen said. “We are in the midst of the biggest public health crisis of our lives. We have over a thousand Americans who die every day. We, as a society, are making laws that protect health and well- be people all the time. ”

In the United States, an average of 1,110 people have died from Covid-19 every day over the past week, data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed Thursday. The death rate since late August is the highest since early March.

While 73.5% of people aged 12 and over have been vaccinated with at least one dose, tens of millions of eligible recipients remain unvaccinated as the highly contagious variant of the Delta coronavirus continues to take hold. pockets of the country. About 62% of the same age group are fully vaccinated on Friday.

“The vast minority of Americans are resistant to vaccination, but that’s where the virus has circulated,” CNN medical analyst Jonathan Reiner told CNN’s Don Lemon on Friday. “We live in a country that has rules. You can’t smoke in most buildings in the United States, and you can’t drive drunk. You can’t smoke on airplanes. can’t blow the virus in my face.

“This is how it must be in this country. And if you are going to be a persistent threat to public health by refusing to get vaccinated, well your actions have consequences, and the consequences may be that you cannot. not work at your job. “

An August Gallup poll showed 56% of Americans support vaccine requirements at work while 53% support them for restaurant meals and 61% approve of them for air travel.

And as for those who have yet to receive their vaccines, it is not too late to convince them, former US surgeon general Dr Jerome Adams said on Friday.

“We have to remember that most of these people are not what I call ‘vaccine resistant’ – some people say ‘anti-vaccination’, I find that term derogatory,” Adams told CNN’s John Berman. “Most of these people are in the mobile environment. They are reluctant to vaccinate.

“I have found that when I talk to them with compassion and empathy, I can convince many of them over time to get the vaccine.”

Health systems put to the test

Six U.S. states saw at least a 10% increase in new Covid-19 cases in the past week compared to the previous week, data from Johns Hopkins University showed on Friday, while the other states did not haven’t seen any change or experienced a drop in cases altogether.

Alabama, one of the states that has seen the recent drop in new cases, now faces a shortage of 60 intensive care unit beds – an increase of 20 from last Friday, the official said. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

These are 60 patients “who are receiving intensive care because they are chronically ill, and yet they do not have an intensive care bed,” Harris said Friday.

“They are cared for in an emergency department or a service bed that has been converted to an intensive care room or on a stretcher in the hallway,” Harris said.

Alabama on Thursday reported 2,667 hospitalizations related to Covid-19 and 53 deaths, he added.

In West Virginia, 252 Covid-19 patients are in intensive care units and 141 more are on ventilators, the highest number of people hospitalized with the disease since the start of the pandemic, the governor said on Friday. Jim Justice.

“A high percentage of people in hospitals are not vaccinated,” Justice said. “We have lost 38 other people since Wednesday. We will continue to lose people in this wave without any questions,” he said.

Minnesota health officials have linked at least 69 cases of Covid-19 to the state fair, according to a statement obtained from the state health department by CNN affiliate WCCO. The Minnesota State Fair website says the event took place August 25 through September 5 in Falcon Heights.

Heated debate on the masks’ mandates

Meanwhile, the debate over mask warrants remains heated in many states, especially when it comes to schools.

In Kentucky, schools will have a choice to make masks mandatory, after the General Assembly overturned the governor’s partial veto on this part of a bill regarding Covid-19 provisions in schools, officials say .

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has vetoed the portion of Bill SB1 that would eliminate the mask mandate for K-12 schools and leave it to school districts to decide whether masking is necessary, he said. he said at a media rally on Friday.

Beshear said the recent Senate rejection of a statewide school mask mandate was a bad choice – and a choice that will produce damaging results.

“Requiring a mask to wear in schools is not only the right thing to do for our young people, especially those who are too young to even get vaccinated,” Beshear said. “It’s our best way to keep our kids learning in the classroom.”

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves said Thursday that Biden’s vaccination mandate plan was unconstitutional.

“A member of the executive branch of government does not have the power to mandate something like this,” Reeves said.

CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Melissa Alonso, Jaide Garcia, Claudia Dominguez and Jennifer Feldman, Mirna Alsharif, Rebekah Riess and Liam Reilly contributed to this report.

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