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COVID-19

Delta Airlines Will Raise Health Insurance Costs for the Unvaccinated by $200 Monthly

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Delta

Delta airlines employees who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine will be paying $200 more for their monthly health insurance coverage beginning November 1. Employees were notified Wednesday by the airline’s CEO Ed Bastian in the announcement of new covid policies for employees.

The CEO cited the hefty costs of covering employees who become hospitalized with the virus. “The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person” the employee memo stated. “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is crating for our company” the memo continued.

“In recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID were not fully vaccinated.” Delta also implemented another policy, beginning September 30, “in compliance with state and local laws, COVID pay protection will only be provided to fully vaccinated individuals who are experiencing a breakthrough infection.” After which, unvaccinated employees who get COVID will have to use their sick days, without exemptions.

CEO Bastian added roughly 75% of Delta’s approximately 75,000 employees are already vaccinated and that “aggressiveness of the [delta] variant means we need to get many more of our people vaccinated, and as close to 100 percent as possible.”

CNBC reports:

Delta, which has the fewest unionized employees of the large U.S. airlines, said it informed the Air Line Pilots Association, their aviators’ labor union, of the changes.

The Delta chapter of ALPA has repeatedly said vaccinations should be voluntary for its members.

The union “has consistently advocated to maintain the right of each individual pilot to consult with his or her medical provider regarding COVID-19 vaccinations or booster doses,” it said in a statement. “While the Delta [master executive council] respects Delta Air Line’s efforts to mitigate the impact of breakthrough COVID-19 variant infections, it needs to bargain with the Delta MEC over any employer-mandated vaccination for pilots.”

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COVID-19

Biden Says He Doesn’t Think COVID Is ‘Here To Stay’

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Joe Biden

On Friday, President Biden said he doesn’t think that COVID-19 is here to stay, but added that he does think the virus will remain around the world.

“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay, but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“COVID as we’re dealing with it now is not here to stay, the normal doesn’t have to be. We have so many more tools we developed and we continue to develop that can contain COVID and other strains of COVID,” he added.

Biden’s comments come shortly after six of his former health advisers, who helped him with the COVID-19 pandemic during his presidential transition, published three opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging Biden to change his strategy in responding to COVID-19 to one accepting that the virus was here to stay and learning how to live with it.

“They say the first thing the administration needs to do is take a broader vision, by recognizing that Covid-19 is here to stay. In one article, Dr. Emanuel and two co-authors — Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University — pointedly note that in July, Mr. Biden proclaimed that ‘we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,’ which in retrospect was clearly not the case,” The New York Times reported.

Biden’s comments suggest he has not yet listened to the advice of these experts, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened to reaching over 1 million new daily cases.

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COVID-19

Former COVID Advisory Board tells Biden corona now ‘one of several circulating respiratory virus’ like flu

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Covid-19

Doctors who once advised President Biden on how to handle the coronavirus are now telling him to change his strategy via a series of published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The six doctors, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine Gounder, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Luciana Borio were members of the advisory board that worked with Biden during his transition period before taking office.

“As the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay” and therefore Biden’s national strategy must be “updated.”

“The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appears to confer lifelong immunity,” they wrote.

“Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection.”

The “new normal,” they explained, should be “recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”

The doctors also pointed out there are many treatments with varying levels of effectiveness such as remdesevir and dexamethasone, monoclonal antibody treatment, and oral treatments like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.

“Finally,” Fox News reports, they said it is imperative “to rebuild trust in public health institutions and a belief in collective action in service of public health.”

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