U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Covid-19 response and vaccination program at the White House August 23, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
The largest group of doctors in the United States on Monday warned a federal appeals court that stopping President Joe Biden’s vaccine and testing requirements for private companies “would seriously and irreparably harm the public interest As the highly transmissible delta strain of Covid-19 spreads.
The American Medical Association, in a case filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, said Covid-19 poses a “serious danger to the public” which has “wreaked havoc in communities across the country, “killing more than 755,000 Americans, hospitalizing 3.25 million people and infecting more than 46 million.
“COVID-19 presents a serious risk to public health in this circuit and throughout the country,” the association of doctors said in the file. “As of November 12, 2021, more than 76,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the four states of this circuit alone,” the group said. The sixth circuit covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
WADA, arguing support for Biden’s policy, told the court that the transmission of Covid in the workplace had played a major role in the spread of the virus, highlighting outbreaks in sectors ranging from processing to meat and transport to hotels and construction.
The Doctors Association said Covid vaccines are safe and very effective, and the most effective way to protect workers from infection. WADA has argued that vaccine requirements are “critical” to curbing or eradicating infectious diseases, citing previous measles and smallpox vaccine mandates.
“The more workers vaccinated, the closer we come to slowing the spread of the virus and creating a safer environment,” the doctors’ association told the court. WADA filed a case as a friend of the tribunal to provide expertise, saying it had “an interest in providing evidence-based advice on public health issues.”
“Immediate and widespread vaccination against COVID-19 is the surest way to protect the U.S. workforce and the public and to end this costly pandemic,” the group said.
The AMA case comes after a coalition representing doctors, nurses and pharmacists issued a joint statement supporting Biden’s policies. The group included the AMA, the American College of Physicians, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the National League for Nursing, the National Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association.
“We, physicians, advanced practice nurses and clinicians, health experts and associations of medical professionals, fully support the requirement that workers in companies with more than 100 workers be vaccinated or tested,” said the groups in a statement released last Thursday. “We encourage all companies with 100 or more employees to implement this standard soon,” he said.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit forced the Biden administration to suspend the implementation and enforcement of the requirements. The appeals court, one of the most conservative in the country, suspended the requirements pending review on November 6. imperfect ”and“ incredibly too broad ”, raising“ serious constitutional concerns ”.
The Biden administration has said the court-ordered break “will likely cost dozens if not hundreds of lives a day” as the virus spreads.
Public health officials fear the United States could face another wave of infection as Americans head indoors to escape the winter cold and reunite with families over the holidays. The United States averages more than 92,000 infections a day, up 16% from last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
About 50,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with the virus, up 6% from a week ago, based on a seven-day average of Department of Health and Human Services data. The daily average of 1,122 reported deaths tracked by Hopkins is down slightly, 3%, over the past week. But the increase in the number of cases indicates that the death rate could increase in the coming weeks.
More than two dozen lawsuits have been filed against the vaccination and testing requirements. Republican attorneys general, private companies and national industry groups such as the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Associations and the National Federation of Independent Business have filed a lawsuit to overturn the demands. Unions have taken legal action to expand requirements to cover small businesses and protect more workers.
Those lawsuits were transferred to the Sixth Circuit last week after the Biden administration asked a multi-district litigation panel to consolidate them into a single court by random selection. The Sixth Circuit has a majority of Republicans appointed judges.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which oversees workplace safety for the Department of Labor, issued the rules under its emergency authority established by Congress. OSHA can shorten the normal rule-making process, which can take years, if the Secretary of Labor determines that a new workplace safety standard is needed to protect workers from serious harm.
Companies with 100 or more employees had until January 4 to ensure their workers were vaccinated or submitted a negative Covid test every week to enter workplaces. Unvaccinated employees were to start wearing face masks indoors at the workplace from December 5.
WADA argued on Monday that the requirements are “appropriately structured to strongly encourage vaccination.”
With requirements currently on hold as the litigation unfolds, the future of Biden’s politics is uncertain. Legal experts believe the case will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
“Whoever loses in the Sixth Circuit will go to the Supreme Court,” Carl Tobias, professor of law at the University of Richmond, told CNBC last week.