Biden’s new COVID-19 policy a much-needed shot in the arm

This president has the spine to do what it takes to keep Americans safe.

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Editorials

September 13, 2021 - 9:48 AM

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on his plan to stop the spread of the Delta variant and boost COVID-19 vaccinations on September 9, 2021. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

A majority of Americans sighed in relief Thursday when President Joe Biden announced that about 80 million Americans — including those at large-scale industries, health care workers, federal employees and  contractors — will be required to either get a COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing.

The order is a decisive step needed to help turn the corner on this never-ending pandemic.

Because, clearly, we weren’t going to do it ourselves.

The longer the virus is around, the more it will mutate into variants such as the delta, refueling surge upon surge.

OSHA, the federal agency that sets workplace safety standards, will enforce Biden’s directive. OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and requires businesses to provide a safe work environment.

Because the pandemic is a certified health hazard — currently more than 130,000 new infections are being recorded every day — Biden’s ruling comes as no surprise to employers and is welcome news. “Our hands are tied,” they can now say, putting the onus on the president.

Which is fine.

His shoulders are broad.

BIDEN’S directive tells employers of one hundred and more that in terms of the highly contagious COVID-19, they must address the fact that anyone carrying the virus is a health hazard to those they encounter.

The vaccine, of course, is the best way forward. For those who refuse the shot, they will need to prove they are not infectious by taking weekly tests.

CONSERVATIVES are calling Biden’s ruling heavy-handed — “totalitarian” (Breitbart) “fascist” (the Federalist).

Pshaw.

What’s heavy-handed are the governors and legislators telling private companies that they can’t ask for proof of vaccination, such as is the case in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota and Texas, denying them the ability to ensure their workplaces are safe.

Requiring the vaccine is not an undue burden on employers.

What is a burden is a depleted and anxious workforce.

This also is not government overreach.

In fact, it is a president’s job to protect the health and well-being of U.S. citizens. So thank goodness we have a president willing to fulfill that commitment. 

SEVENTY percent of Americans are at least partially vaccinated.

If the issue were anything but an ever-mutating virus, that majority would put the issue to bed.

Unfortunately, that 30% block of holdouts is jeopardizing not only the country’s collective health but also its ability to return to life as normal.

Biden did the right thing. More need to follow.

— Susan Lynn

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