Biden’s Broken COVID Promise Keeps Killing Americans – Yahoo News, Here Are Five Things He Can Do Without Congress to Save Countless Lives
At the 2021 SALT New York conference, which was held earlier this week, one of the panels on the main stage discussed the best macro shifts coming out of the pandemic and investing in value amid distress. The panel featured: Todd Lemkin, the chief investment officer of Canyon Partners; Peter Wallach, the managing director and Read More
Broken COVID Promise Responsible For Countless Unnecessary Deaths
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 23, 2021) – President Joe Biden broke his COVID promise to “do everything possible” from “an executive standpoint” to “make it required that people had to wear masks in public,” and the clearly foreseeable result has been, and is continuing to be, countless unnecessary deaths, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who faced a similar misinformation problem but was nevertheless able to save millions of lives.
As Yahoo News just reported, “‘certainly using the legal definition, he is killing people by not having the guts to take the effective action, which he promised the American public to do,’ Banzhaf said.”
At a time when the rapid decline in mask wearing inside indoor public places is leading to a new deadly resurgence of the virus, hospital overcrowding, and even more deaths, the Biden team is debating whether to change the language of its COVID guidance.
While this isn’t quite fiddling while Rome burns, it is the equivalent – before the turn of the century – of limiting the war on smoking, and the urgent need to prevents hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths each year, to simply changing the language of the government’s largely-ignored and easily-overpowered warnings about smoking, says Banzhaf, who helped put in place stronger measures which saved many more lives.
Then, as now, there were government warnings about a grave danger and how to avoid it; but they were countered by a very effective campaign of misinformation.
In that case the very effective efforts to undercut if not overwhelm the government’s campaign were lead by the powerful tobacco industry.
The cigarette manufacturers were later shown to have bribed scientists, reporters, and other influencers, and easily outspent the government and public health organizations with tactics such as full-page ads, ubiquitous billboards, and massive grants to influence many public interest organizations to deny or at least minimize the dangers of smoking.
Steps To Slash COVID Deaths
Here, says Banzhaf, are at least five simple steps Biden can and should take now, without the need for any congressional action, to slash the number of COVID deaths – including some ideas based upon Banzhaf’s own successes fighting smoking.
- FIRST, when companies first began requiring their employees to give up smoking, huge numbers suddenly did – something which numerous health warnings and various financial incentives were unable to accomplish, especially since so many smokers were addicted.
So if the government would simply reassure companies that they can lawfully require their employees to be vaccinated, as many (including universities with their students) are already doing, one can reasonable expect most workers to comply, since few would be willing to leave their employment despite some vaccine hesitation, and because getting vaccinated is so much easier then quitting smoking.
- SECOND, Biden could direct executive branch agencies awarding grants (or at least health-related grants) to limit the grants – or at least give preference – to applications from entities in states which do have effective mask rules in place; with appropriate guidance as to what elements an effective mask rule must include.
Since so many cities, counties, towns, universities, hospitals, public service organizations, and other entities are heavily dependent upon such grants, this one tiny step – even simply providing for “preference” in awarding grants – would persuade many states to reimpose, or to keep in place, requirements that masks be worn as appropriate and necessary in many public places.
- THIRD, just as Biden required by executive action that masks must be worn on airplanes, and that soon domestic airline passengers must replace their old driver’s licenses with new ones which meet tougher REAL-ID standards, Biden could require (with very limited exceptions if necessary) that passengers provide proof that they have been vaccinated in order to fly – the other protective measure, which, in addition to mask wearing, has been proven to slash deaths from COVID-19.
This would seem to be a very reasonable requirement, since the danger the enhanced licenses are designed to protect against (terrorism aboard planes) is much less of a risk today than deaths from COVID infection, and it’s so much easier and quicker to get vaccinated than it is to go to a DMV office and meet the strict requirements for a REAL-ID license.
- FOURTH, to encourage stadiums, theaters, and other places of public accommodation to limit admission to persons who have been vaccinated, and to assist companies which want to assure that their employees have been vaccinated, the federal government could provide a system of wallet-size picture-ID cards verifying that the bearer has been fully vaccinated. Moreover, such vaccination-verification information could easily by added to the trusted traveler cards many fliers already carry.
If for any reason the federal government does not wish to establish its own vaccine-verification program – like many other countries, as well as the State of New York, have done – it should, at the very least, support and encourage others – e.g., other individual states, the airline industry, etc. – to establish and maintain such a system. A modest start-up grant would might well provide sufficient additional incentive.
- FIFTH, with the same sense of great urgency and massive funding which led to the very prompt development of effective vaccines under the “OPERATION WARP SPEED” program, the government should press for COVID tests which are quicker and less expensive than those now in use, which seem not to have advanced much since the pandemic began. We really should be able to do better than requiring people to spend 200 or so dollars, and wait 24 hours for reliable results.
Moreover, proof of vaccine status may largely eliminate the need for such tests to fly internationally. For example, a careful analysis may show that the risk that an unvaccinated person may become infected within the 72 hours between the test and his flight, and then infect other passengers, may be at least as high that a confirmed fully-vaccinated person who is not tested before a flight will be an infection risk.
The law professor notes that, in law, under the sine qua non rule, a person or entity which failed to take an action which would have prevented a death is held to be the legal cause of that death – whether or not there is resulting legal liability.
Thus, from that legal framework at least, Biden has killed tens of thousands of Americans, and his continued refusal to take effective action by using his existing executive powers will be the cause of thousands of additional preventable deaths, says Banzhaf.