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CDC chief backtracks on claim gov vaccine mandate considered: Biden says US faces NEW restrictions

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Joe Biden on Friday night warned Americans that new restrictions were coming, as the Delta variant causes COVID-19 caseloads across the country to soar.

The president, leaving the White House for a weekend at Camp David, was asked whether new rules were likely to be introduced.

‘In all probability,’ he said, without expanding.

On Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance to recommend the wearing of face masks indoors, in areas where there is considerable transmission of the virus.

The new advice applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.  

The Indian ‘Delta’ variant causes infections that are more contagious than the common cold, flu, smallpox and the Ebola virus, and it is as infectious as chickenpox, the CDC claimed in a new research published on Friday.  

It claims COVID-19 vaccines are still highly effective against the Delta variant at preventing serious illness and death, but detailed an outbreak in Provincetown, Cape Cod, over the July 4 weekend which saw many vaccinated people become infected. No one who was vaccinated died.

The report attributed 430 cases to the outbreak. The cluster jumped to 931 cases on Thrusday. About 74%, or 364 cases, had been fully vaccinated. At least 79% reported symptoms.   

Joe Biden on Friday night told reporters that new restrictions were likely on their way to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak

Joe Biden on Friday night told reporters that new restrictions were likely on their way to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak

Joe Biden on Friday night told reporters that new restrictions were likely on their way to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak

Biden stopped to talk to the media as he left the White House on Friday evening, en route to Camp David for the weekend

Biden stopped to talk to the media as he left the White House on Friday evening, en route to Camp David for the weekend

Biden stopped to talk to the media as he left the White House on Friday evening, en route to Camp David for the weekend

White House says ‘we have tools to fight’ Indian ‘Delta’ variant and avoiding lockdown is ‘a goal’

The White House on Friday said that it was not planning on reintroducing lockdowns, despite Joe Biden’s warning that new restrictions were to be expected.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy press secretary, was asked whether there have been ‘conversations in the White House or between the White House and its scientific advisors about more lockdowns, partial lockdowns or anything along those lines’.

Jean-Pierre responded: ‘We have the tools in our toolbelt to fight this variant.

‘We are not going to head towards a lockdown. 

‘We want to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can because we have the resources to make sure that doesn’t happen.’  

Jean-Pierre said that the focus remained on encouraging people to get vaccinated. 

Avoiding reintroducing lockdowns, she said, remains ‘a goal’. 

To counter the rising raise of infection, the White House is pushing for Americans to get their COVID vaccine but has said repeatedly they won’t mandate people get their shot in the arm.

‘Yesterday, almost a million people got vaccinated, about half a million people for the first time,’ Biden said, calling it ‘good news.’

Biden is requiring the more than two million employees of the federal government get vaccinated or submit to regular COVID testing. 

The White House has said vaccine requirements are up to private businesses. 

On Friday, Disney and Walmart, two of America’s largest employers, announced a vaccine requirement for their employees.

While Biden did not specify what the new restrictions would entail, the White House on Friday said that they were not planning on reintroducing lockdowns.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy press secretary, was asked whether there have been ‘conversations in the White House or between the White House and its scientific advisors about more lockdowns, partial lockdowns or anything along those lines’.

Jean-Pierre responded: ‘We have the tools in our toolbelt to fight this variant.

‘We are not going to head towards a lockdown. 

‘We want to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can because we have the resources to make sure that doesn’t happen.’  

Earlier on Friday, Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said that a federal vaccine mandate was being considered. 

‘That’s something that I think the administration is looking into. It’s something that I think we are looking to see approval of, from the vaccine,’ she said.

‘Overall, I think in general, I am all for more vaccination. 

‘But, I have nothing further to say on that except that we are looking into those policies.’

Walensky added that any vaccine mandates currently in place are strictly on the local or corporate level. 

Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, appeared on Fox News on Friday and said that discussions were being held about a possible federal vaccine mandate. She said she could not go into details

Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, appeared on Fox News on Friday and said that discussions were being held about a possible federal vaccine mandate. She said she could not go into details

Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, appeared on Fox News on Friday and said that discussions were being held about a possible federal vaccine mandate. She said she could not go into details

Why the Delta Covid variant ISN’T really spreading as quickly as chickenpox 

Top scientists today claimed the Indian ‘Delta’ variant is not spreading as quickly as chickenpox, despite US health officials saying it is just as contagious.

Data circulating within America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claimed people infected with the mutant strain can go on to infect eight others.

The same internal document  also alleged that fully-vaccinated people can spread the Indian variant just as easily as unvaccinated people because they carry a similar amount of the virus in their nose and mouth. 

Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, insisted the agency was ‘not crying wolf’, saying the situation was ‘serious’ and that the measures needed to tackle the spread of Delta were ‘extreme’.

But British scientists have questioned some of the claims made by the department, which has urged Americans to keep their coverings on indoors regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated or not. 

Professor David Livermore, an infectious diseases expert from the University of East Anglia, said vaccine-triggered immunity and the endless waves of Covid which nations have endured meant there were fewer susceptible people around for people to infect.

‘The US, like the UK, has substantial immunity from prior infection and from vaccination,’ he told MailOnline. ‘This will surely be a major drag on Delta’s spread, precluding (viral spread) numbers of that magnitude.’ 

And Professor Julian Tang, a virologist at Leicester University, said the theory was likely just ‘speculation’ because it was very difficult to track down the number of cases sparked by a single infection. 

 

Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked what Walensky would say to those who do not want to get vaccinated, seeing it as an infringement on their right to do what they want with their own bodies.

‘I completely understand the pushback,’ she said, but explained that vaccinations against diseases such as polio, measles and TB are already routine.

She said that as a former chief epidemiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, she was mandated to receive an influenza shot every year to be able to hold her job.

‘I understand both perspectives,’ she said.

‘Some people haven’t had access. Some people haven’t had time off. Some people don’t understand its benefits. Some people are worried about the side effects. 

‘So I think as we go and try and provide information to people who are not yet vaccinated.’

In a report published on Friday, Walensky’s agency detailed a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this month in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, linked to the spread of the Indian ‘Delta’ variant.  

According to the CDC’s report, 469 COVID-19 cases were identified among Massachusetts residents who had traveled to Provincetown between July 3 and July 17, including 346 fully vaccinated people. 

About 274 of the vaccinated people with so-called breakthrough infections showed symptoms – most commonly cough, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, and fever.

Testing identified the highly contagious Delta variant in 90 per cent of specimens from 133 patients. 

The Delta variant is more dangerous in several ways, Kaiser Health News claimed in a report, saying the incubation period is four days, rather than six, making people contagious sooner. 

When the pandemic began, people spread the original coronavirus to an average of two or three people. Today, people infected with delta infect six people, on average. 

It is not believed to be any more lethal, but it kills more people because it infects more. 

British scientists have questioned some of the claims made by the CDC. 

Professor David Livermore, an infectious diseases expert from the University of East Anglia, said vaccine-triggered immunity and the endless waves of Covid which nations have endured meant there were fewer susceptible people around for people to infect.

‘The US, like the UK, has substantial immunity from prior infection and from vaccination,’ he told MailOnline. ‘This will surely be a major drag on Delta’s spread, precluding (viral spread) numbers of that magnitude.’ 

And Professor Julian Tang, a virologist at Leicester University, said the theory was likely just ‘speculation’ because it was very difficult to track down the number of cases sparked by a single infection. 

In the United Kingdom, the Delta outbreak is showing encouraging signs of being on the wane. Delta outbreaks tend to last 10 to 12 weeks, as the virus ‘burns through’ susceptible populations. Covid hospitalisations in England have fallen for first time since third wave took off and Department of Health statistics show the average number of patients needing care also fell sharply.   

A new CDC report detailed 469 cases of COVID-19 linked to an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts between July 3 and July 17, of which 74% were in fully vaccinated people

A new CDC report detailed 469 cases of COVID-19 linked to an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts between July 3 and July 17, of which 74% were in fully vaccinated people

A new CDC report detailed 469 cases of COVID-19 linked to an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts between July 3 and July 17, of which 74% were in fully vaccinated people

Only four of the vaccinated people were hospitalized, two of whom had underlying conditions, and there were no deaths. This shows vaccines are effective even against the Delta variant, which now makes up 83% of all new infections

Only four of the vaccinated people were hospitalized, two of whom had underlying conditions, and there were no deaths. This shows vaccines are effective even against the Delta variant, which now makes up 83% of all new infections

Only four of the vaccinated people were hospitalized, two of whom had underlying conditions, and there were no deaths. This shows vaccines are effective even against the Delta variant, which now makes up 83% of all new infections

Provincetown: How July 4 weekend turned the partygoing playground of New England into the center of a Covid cluster

Located near the northern-most point of Cape Cod, Provincetown – or P-Town – is known for its beaches, artists and as a popular vacation spot for the LGBT+ community. 

It has a population of just under 3,000 people year-round, but this raises to as high as 60,000 in the summer months.

Young party-goers descend on the town to make the most of the plethora of bars and clubs found along it’s famous Commercial Street.

Wealthy tourists usually found in nearby cities such a Boston and Manhattan will often use the town as their playground to spend their hard earned cash – or that of their parent’s.

But a week after crowds descended to celebrate the Fourth of July – the holiday President Joe Biden hoped would mark the nation’s liberation from COVID-19 – the manager of the Cape Cod beach town said he was aware of ‘a handful of covid cases among folks who spent time there’ 

Within weeks, the outbreak rapidly grew until, as of Thursday, 882 people were tied to an outbreak in the town, with 74 per cent of those having had both doses of the vaccine. It was reported that seven people were hospitalized, ABC News reported.  

Before this, health officials were assuming that it was rare for a vaccinated person to become infected with the virus and, if they were, they probably wouldn’t infect others. 

The assumption was based on studies of an earlier virus, and not the new Delta variant, which was first detected in India earlier this year. 

It is indicated that this outbreak is among the new evidence behind the decision to make masks compulsory indoors again, even if they have had both doses of the vaccine.  

The owner of Marine Specialties, a long running Army-Navy store, had been leery of officials dropping virus safety mandates ahead of what many expected would be a busy summer season. 

‘If we’d stuck with masks all along, I don’t think we’d be having this conversation,’ Patrick said, adding that he’s required all his staff to be masked and vaccinated.

Researchers found nearly three-quarters of the infections occurred in people who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with either of three shots approved in the U.S. for emergency use.

What’s more, tests showed that immunized people carried about the same viral levels in their noses and throats as unvaccinated people did.

However, there were just four hospitalizations and no fatalities among the fully vaccinated group, showing that the vaccines are very effective against severe disease and death. 

The team looked at COVID-19 cases linked to summer events and large gatherings in Provincetown, on Massachusetts’s Cape Cod, between July 3 and July 17.

Thousands of residents and tourists flocked to the summer town for Independence Day celebrations as well as family vacations, resulting in crowded bars, restaurants, rental homes and more.

Travis Dagenais, who was among the many vaccinated people infected, said ‘throwing caution to the wind’ and partying in crowds for long nights over the July Fourth holiday was a mistake in hindsight.

‘The dominant public messaging has been that the vaccine means a return to normal,’ the 35-year-old Boston resident told AP on Thursday. 

‘Unfortunately, I’ve now learned it’s a few steps toward normal, not the zero-to-sixty that we seem to have undertaken.’

Dagenais credits being vaccinated with easing the worst of the flu-like symptoms in a couple of days. He has recovered. 

On July 10, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health began receiving reports of an increased number of cases linked to the county.

The 14-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases in the county rose from zero cases per 100,000 persons on July 3 to 177 cases per 100,000 persons.   

Although experts generally agreed with the CDC’s revised indoor masking stance, some said the report on the Provincetown outbreak does not prove that vaccinated people are a significant source of new infections.

‘There’s scientific plausibility for the (CDC) recommendation. But it’s not derived from this study,’ said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher. 

‘What’s going on here? Why are they saying this?’ asked Tucker Carlson, the Fox News anchor, on Friday night, questioning why new restrictions could be brought in.

‘It turns out the COVID vaccines – the drugs more impressive than the moon landings, which you could not question – don’t actually do what they thought they could.’

He noted that three quarters of the people infected in a recent outbreak, in Cape Cod, were vaccinated.

‘So now we learn that virtually everything they told us about the vaccinations is wrong,’ he claimed – failing to point out that there were no deaths among vaccinated people in the Cape Cod outbreak, which shows the vaccine does work.

He accused the Biden administration with not being honest with the American public, insisting that more should have been done to explain that the science was preliminary and evolving, and saying that the public could ‘cope with the truth’.

Carlson accused the scientists of lacking ‘humility’.

‘They are punishing the country for the disaster they made,’ he said. ‘It’s your fault.’ 

He added: ‘Why are lockdowns the answer to a failing vaccine?’ 

Carlson pointed out that the UK did not reimpose a lockdown, despite their spread of the Delta variant being considered more advanced than the United States. 

Indeed, the one glimmer of hope came from Britain, where the Delta variant has wreaked havoc, but is now dramatically slowing down.

Experts hope that this may indicate the U.S. surge could also be over soon. 

The popular Cape Cod vacation resort of Provincetown is seen on July 24. The artistic and foodie city drew its usual large crowd for the July 4 weekend, with people believing that fully vaccinated people could not transmit the virus. It is now believed that that is not correct

The popular Cape Cod vacation resort of Provincetown is seen on July 24. The artistic and foodie city drew its usual large crowd for the July 4 weekend, with people believing that fully vaccinated people could not transmit the virus. It is now believed that that is not correct

The popular Cape Cod vacation resort of Provincetown is seen on July 24. The artistic and foodie city drew its usual large crowd for the July 4 weekend, with people believing that fully vaccinated people could not transmit the virus. It is now believed that that is not correct

Dressed as Maxine the Vaccine, Poppy Champlin encourages pedestrians to get vaccinated for COVID-19 while promoting her comedy show on Commercial Street in Provincetown, on July 24

Dressed as Maxine the Vaccine, Poppy Champlin encourages pedestrians to get vaccinated for COVID-19 while promoting her comedy show on Commercial Street in Provincetown, on July 24

Dressed as Maxine the Vaccine, Poppy Champlin encourages pedestrians to get vaccinated for COVID-19 while promoting her comedy show on Commercial Street in Provincetown, on July 24

Last week, the leading British COVID modeler said that the country was ‘almost certain’ to hit 100,000 cases per day, and the U.K.’s daily case count crossed the 50,000 threshold for the first time since January.

Yet since July 20, cases have fallen fast. 

From a high of nearly 54,000 on July 17, the daily tally slid to 43,404 last Wednesday; and 28,652 on Sunday.

This Monday, the U.K.’s case count slipped below 25,000 – a 50 percent reduction in a single week. 

‘In the United Kingdom, cases are clearly coming down at this point,’ said Dr Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, on Monday. 

‘If the U.K. is turning the corner, it’s a pretty good indication that maybe we’re further into this than we think, and maybe we’re two or three weeks away from starting to see our own plateau here in the United States.’ 

‘All options are on the table’: New York’s mayor says vaccines may be compulsory for indoor dining in the Big Apple 

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, has hinted he may issue a vaccine mandate for all New Yorkers wanting to dine inside a restaurant.

De Blasio told CNN on Friday that ‘all options are on the table’ when it comes to trying to tackle the spread of the Delta variant, which now accounts for 72 percent of all new COVID-19 cases in his city.   

‘What’s going to happen, bluntly, is that folks who are vaccinated are going to be able to experience all the things that they love in the life of this city and this country,’ he said. 

‘And the folks who are not vaccinated are going to find that too many things that they want to do, they can’t do unless they’re vaccinated. That has to be the reality because people will respond to that.’ 

This week, the mayor has rolled out a number of new policies and incentives in an effort to encourage more people to take the shot in what was once the virus epicenter of the world.

City employees are now required to either get a vaccine by September 13 or take a test every week – a rule similar to that introduced for government workers in New York state, California and the federal government.

Meanwhile, private businesses have already started taking matters into their own hands, with famed restaurant group Union Square Hospitality Group and Broadway announcing that only vaccinated staff and customers are welcome back through their doors. 

De Blasio mulled the possibility that customers will soon be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine to dine inside a restaurant, pointing out that the city’s Health Department has the power to roll out such rules during a time of public emergency.

‘Given everything we’re learning about the delta variant, all options are on the table,’ he said. 

The mayor warned that ‘tougher and tougher measures’ could be on the horizon after efforts to increase the vaccine uptake with incentives has only gone so far. 

‘We’ve tried incentives for months and months. We’ve tried being communicative and open and compassionate, and all that was good, but we need something also tough at this point,’ he said.  

‘We’re climbing the ladder in terms of more mandates, tougher and tougher measures to make sure people are vaccinated.’