Tennessee’s Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, M.D. came under intense fire from state legislators and members of the public alike, during a meeting of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Joint Government Operations Committee meeting held Wednesday, for activities interpreted as marketing COVID-19 shots directly to children under the cover of the “mature minor” doctrine.
Prior to the standard business of the committee reviewing emergency rules filed in April 2021, the meeting agenda called for a presentation by the Department of Health regarding a May 12, 2021, letter from Medical Director of the Tennessee Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization Program at the Tennessee Department Health Dr. Michelle Fiscus that addressed the Tennessee “mature minor” doctrine and co-administration of COVID-19 and routine vaccinations.
Metro Nashville health officials will continue to administer Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which will be discussed in an upcoming emergency meeting called by the CDC. According to preliminary reports, there have been double the expected cases of heart inflammation occurring in both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine recipients.
The CDC meeting is scheduled for this Friday. Officials will discuss whether there exists a definitive link between the two vaccine types and the reported cases of myocarditis and pericarditis. The Tennessee Star inquired with the Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) if they would continue administering the Pfizer vaccine up until the CDC holds its emergency meeting. MPHD spokespersons confirmed to The Star that they would.
Mediation talks between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state of Florida have been unsuccessful, as the federal agency and the state duke it out in court over who controls the cruise ship industry’s return to business as usual.
“Settlement talks have ended in the legal battle between Florida and the federal government about restrictions on the cruise-ship industry,” according to WKMG. “U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli, who has served as a mediator, said in a court filing Friday that a settlement conference was unsuccessful.”
Suicide-related emergency room visits among both adolescent girls and boys spiked amid the pandemic and continued to surge as lockdowns persisted, according to a government health report.
Emergency room (ER) mental health visits increased 31% among children aged 12-17 years old in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released Friday. The CDC noted that, while it couldn’t definitively establish a cause, it’s likely that pandemic-related restrictions on everyday life could be to blame for the increase.
“Young persons might represent a group at high risk because they might have been particularly affected by mitigation measures, such as physical distancing (including a lack of connectedness to schools, teachers, and peers); barriers to mental health treatment; increases in substance use; and anxiety about family health and economic problems,” the report stated.
An Ohio think tank believes an eviction moratorium put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic causes more harm than good and should be ended.
The Buckeye Institute joined the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Southeastern Legal Foundation’s lawsuit on behalf of a Texas landlord that is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The CDC awarded nearly $12 million collectively to Davidson and Shelby counties to address COVID-related health disparities in racial and ethnic minorities. Overall, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) was awarded nearly $39 million in total this past week, with a rural carveout totaling over $8.3 million. The CDC says this funding to a total of 107 recipients is part of a larger goal to “advance health equity.”
The Metro Public Health Department of Nashville and Davidson County received over $4.9 million in these funds, while Shelby County Health Department received nearly $6.6 million. The Tennessee Star inquired with the CDC how the funds can be used specifically to address COVID-related health disparities among racial or ethnic minorities, and what metrics they would use to measure progress within the awarded states and localities. The CDC didn’t respond by press time.
The U.S. economy reported an increase of 559,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate declined to 5.8%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 559,000 in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, and the number of unemployed persons dropped to 9.3 million. Economists projected 671,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“We think it will take several months for frictions in the labor market to work themselves out,” Barclays chief U.S. economist Michael Gapen told the WSJ. “That just means we shouldn’t be expecting one to two million jobs every month. Instead, it will be a more gradual process.”
A group of realtor organizations asked the Supreme Court to block the federal eviction moratorium that has been in effect throughout the pandemic and prevents landlords from evicting tenants who skip rent payments.
The group, led by the Alabama Association of Realtors, asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to issue an emergency order blocking the moratorium, which had been crafted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to court filings. The moratorium has resulted in more than $13 billion in unpaid rent per month since it was introduced, the coalition wrote to the high court.
“Congress never gave the CDC the staggering amount of power it now claims,” the groups’ filing said.
After banning vaccine passports from the Sunshine State by law and by executive order, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is now tasked with bringing the cruise ship industry, a proponent of such passports, to heel.
“We are going to enforce Florida law,” DeSantis said Friday. “I mean, we have Florida law. We have laws that protect the people and the privacy of our citizens, and we are going to enforce it.”
An “avalanche” of “expanding and accelerating” demographic forces is driving global birth rates down at alarming rates, demographers warned The New York Times.
“A paradigm shift is necessary,” German demographer Frank Swiaczny, former United Nations chief of population trends and analysis, told the Times. “Countries need to learn to live with and adapt to decline.”
The publication described ghost cities in northeastern China, South Korean universities scrambling for students, hundreds of thousands of demolished properties in Germany, and shut down maternity wards in Italy, and warned that countries like Hungary, China, Sweden and Japan are already pushing to balance the combination of “swelling” older populations with the needs of young people.
Two prominent medical professionals are raising red flags over the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in children, in pregnant women, and in those who have previously caught the coronavirus and now have antibodies. There are alarming reports in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) of healthy children dying shortly after being vaccinated, the doctors say.
Also, multiple studies are showing higher rates of adverse effects in people who have recovered from the virus, and the vaccine is not proven to be safe for pregnant women, especially those in their first trimester, according to the doctors.
Dr. Peter McCullough, an American professor of epidemiology at Baylor University, and Dr. Harvey Risch, professor at the Yale School of Public Health appeared on Fox News’ “Ingraham Angle” Thursday night to voice their concerns regarding these issues.
Once again, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) finds herself in hot water after a photo surfaced showing her breaking her own social distancing rules at an East Lansing bar over the weekend.
“The group shot of 13 individuals appeared to violate the governor’s restaurant capacity order issued May 15 on ‘gathering limitations for entertainment establishments, recreational establishments, and food service establishments,'” according to Breitbart, which first obtained the photo.
Some Virginia universities have eased their mask mandates for those who have been fully vaccinated to follow more closely with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Universities that officially made mask changes for vaccinated people include the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University.
“Based on the advice of University medical experts, we are pleased to inform you that the University will follow the advice of the CDC and the Governor and update our policy so that UVA community members who are fully vaccinated can now safely forego masks both indoors and outdoors,” UVA President Jim Ryan said in a statement with other university leaders.
A handful of Senate Republicans sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Wednesday demanding more information about the newly-announced school reopening guidelines, as reported by the Daily Caller.
The letter, signed by five Senate Republicans including Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.,) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), is addressed to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, as well as Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. The letter asks both officials to provide explanations for why the CDC has ultimately decided to reopen all American schools by June 2nd.
In the letter, the senators point to recently-unearthed emails, first uncovered by Americans for Public Trust, which reveal that the CDC communicated directly with the nation’s top teachers’ unions, including the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), to discuss drafting the reopening guidelines.
A federal lawsuit was filed Monday in Tampa by statewide real-estate group Florida Realtors, and Pinellas County based real-estate firm, R.W. Caldwell Inc. that challenges the federal moratorium implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The moratorium established by the CDC was originally issued in September 2020 and was meant to expire by December 31st , 2020. The expiration date has since been extended three times, with the new expiration date on June 3oth, 2021. Florida Realtors called the moratorium “an unprecedented and unlawful federal administrative order.”
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control did an about-face, announcing that the fully vaccinated among us may resume normal activities. The news came more than a year after California initiated the first lockdown on March 19, 2020.
The CDC’s new posture comes with some narrow exceptions. If you’re traveling on a plane or find yourself in a homeless shelter or in a medical or correctional facility, you still need to wear a mask; and the CDC made sure to clarify, apparently out of great deference for federalism and Hayekian spontaneous order, that its guidance does not predominate over the requirements of federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
Before the CDC updated its pandemic guidance, this was exactly the position espoused by libertarian law professor Ilya Somin of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law. Writing from his regular perch at the legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy, Somin’s argument is summarized nicely in the subheading of his piece, “Free the Vaccinated from COVID Restrictions”: “Doing so will protect constitutional rights, reduce vaccine hesitancy, and increase liberty—all at once.”
The state of Florida’s tourism industry took a huge hit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that limited travel and encouraged people around the world to stay at home.
Before 2020 was struck by the pandemic, Florida had increased its number of visitors every year since 2010 with 2019 recording the most at 131.4 million. According to Visit Florida, 2020 saw a 39.3% decrease from 2019 totaling only 79.75 million visitors.
Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced last week that they will continue enforcing their mask mandate indefinitely. The announcement came out Friday – the same day that Metro Nashville health officials ended the mask mandate.
The Tennessee Star reported on a recent court ruling that schools lacked the legal authority to impose a mask mandate contrary to state and their local government policy decisions. The Star inquired with MNPS about the relationship between this ruling and their decision to continue the mask mandate. MNPS spokesperson Sean Braisted told The Star that the case referenced doesn’t prevent a school district from enacting or enforcing mask requirements. The Star asked if this ruling would jeopardize MNPS’s qualified immunity if parents challenged the mask mandate in court. Braisted responded that MNPS wouldn’t comment on hypothetical legal challenges.
The Virginia State Republican Senate delegation released a statement on Monday telling Governor Ralph Northam to lift the remaining COVID-19 regulations throughout the state.
The statement from the Virginia Republicans follow their calls issued on Friday for Northam to remove the state-wide mask mandate. Northam lifted the mask mandate shortly after the statement on Friday to fall in accordance with new CDC guidelines.
The University System of Georgia announced that it plans to drop mask mandates for fully vaccinated students and employees in the Fall 2021 semester, marking a return to relative normalcy.
“Fully vaccinated individuals can resume campus classes and other activities without wearing a mask. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue wearing a face covering while inside campus facilities,” a press release said.
DFL senators claimed on Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka’s decision to end all coronavirus restrictions on the Senate floor was “unnecessary, premature, and unwise.”
Just two days later, several Senate DFL members threw their masks in the air in what they called “Mary Tyler Moore style” after hearing about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new mask guidance.
A photo from Senate Media Services shows eight maskless Democratic senators tossing their masks in the air.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is once again under fire for a Florida trip she took months ago.
The trip was partially paid for by a 501(c)4 group, which critics say presents legal questions.
Whitmer used funds from an inauguration-related nonprofit to pay for a $27,521 trip to Florida to visit her ailing father in March, MIRS News reported. “She continued to carry out her duties as governor while she assisted her father [in Florida] with household duties like cooking and cleaning,” JoAnne Huls, the governor’s chief of staff, wrote in a memo. “The governor’s flight was not a gift, not paid for at taxpayer expense, and was done in compliance with the law.”
Nearly three dozen House GOP representatives this week urged Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to formally drop the House’s strict mask mandate, citing recently updated masking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the Friday letter, issued from the office of Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs, 34 Republicans “urge[d] [Pelosi] to immediately return to normal voting procedures and end mandatory mask requirements in the House of Representatives.”
“CDC guidance states fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting except where required by governmental or workplace mandate,” the letter declares. “It is time to update our own workplace regulations. Every member of Congress has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and you have indicated about 75 percent have taken advantage of this opportunity.”
Progressives voiced their dismay following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.
Progressives and medical experts immediately criticized the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mask guidelines, arguing that the alteration was extreme and would be harmful to certain parts of the population. Others said the new guidance is confusing and disincentivizes people to get vaccinated.
“The CDC has done an about-face that’s shockingly abrupt: it’s confusing & could actually disincentivize vaccines,” Dr. Leana Wen, a George Washington University public health professor, tweeted after the announcement Thursday.
“Yes, vaccinated people are well-protected and not a threat to others,” she said in a later tweet. “But do we trust that the honor system—won’t unvaccinated people pretend to be vaccinated & stop wearing masks?”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday announced the state health department will align its policy with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on face coverings starting Saturday at 9 a.m.
“For more than a year, we’ve been following the best data and science to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Whitmer said in a statement. “The vast majority of us have trusted the scientists and experts to keep us safe during the pandemic, and it has worked. With millions of Michiganders fully vaccinated, we can now safely and confidently take the next step to get back to normal. The message is clear: vaccines work to protect you and your loved ones. If you have not yet received your vaccine, now is the time to sign up. This pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges of our lifetimes, but we came together as a state to persevere. We have all been working incredibly hard toward getting back to some sense of normalcy, and today’s news makes all of that work worthwhile.”
On Thursday, the CDC released updated guidance recommending “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
Minnesota’s mask mandate will come to an end Friday, a maskless Gov. Tim Walz announced at a Thursday night press conference.
The polarizing mandate has been in place since July 25. Walz said last week that he would lift the mandate on July 1 or when 70% of the eligible population received a vaccine — whichever came first.
But a new guidance released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
According to the Metro Public Health Department (MPHD), Nashville’s mask mandate was supposed to continue despite the latest CDC recommendation. However, health officials quickly reversed their decision within hours, and without offering a detailed explanation. As The Tennessee Star reported Friday, the mask mandate ended on Friday morning at 5 a.m. CST. The Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) shared that the decision was made by certain Metro health officials, who convened after Thursday’s board of health meeting.
MPHD said in a press release that certain Metro health officials met after the Metro Board of Health meeting Thursday to further review the CDC recommendations. It is unclear what further information caused them to change their minds. In response to inquiries from The Star, the MPHD spokesperson shared the same MPHD press release. He said that there weren’t any other reasons for the reversal beyond what’s been shared publicly.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper (D) announced Friday that the city will no longer require residents or visitors to wear masks, and announced an end to capacity restrictions on businesses.
“As of this morning, Nashville has lifted the mask mandate and all capacity restrictions. 301,700 Nashvillians have received a vaccine, which is life-saving and economy-saving. Together we weathered the storm of the last 14 months, and Nashville is ready for the rebound,” he said on Twitter, attaching a public service video announcement.
Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN-02) sent a letter on Thursday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to end the current COVID-19 regulations that are in place for the House of Representatives.
The letter from Burchett comes in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcing that vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear a mask indoors. As cases continue to decline, COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted in each state across the country.
The state of Florida will argue before a federal judge Wednesday that the federal government should not be allowed to interfere with the cruise ship industry, which seeks to get back on its feet after the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns.
“Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, filed the lawsuit last month challenging restrictions imposed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and pointing to the economic impact on the state,” according to a CBS Miami report. “Moody’s office is seeking a preliminary injunction based, in part, on arguments that the CDC overstepped its legal authority in imposing the restrictions.”
The teachers union in the middle of a scandal for influencing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official school reopening guidance gave nearly $20 million to Democrats in the 2020 election cycle, filings show.
Federal election filings reveal that the American Federation of Teachers and its local affiliates spent $19,903,532 on political donations during the 2020 cycle, with nearly all of the funds going to Democrats and liberal groups.
Last year’s AFT donations include $5,251,400 for the Democrats Senate Majority PAC and $4,600,000 for the Democratic House Majority PAC, according to data compiled by The Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets database.
During 2020 the US birth rate fell 4% lower than the year before – the largest drop in nearly 50 years, according to government data released Wednesday.
The report showed the number of births fell across all ethnicities and origins.
“This is the sixth consecutive year that the number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, down an average of 2% per year, and the lowest number of births since 1979,” the National Center for Health Statistics said.
A federal judge in Washington D.C. ruled on Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not legally have the authority to uphold a federal freeze on evictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to ABC News.
The ruling was made by Judge Dabney Friedrich of the D.C. Circuit Court, who subsequently ordered that the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) vacate the policy. The eviction moratorium, which had been in place since it was first implemented last year under the Trump Administration, was meant to assist those who have been unable to pay rent due to the shutdown of small businesses, forbidding landlords from evicting such tenants until said tenants can return to work and start paying their rent again.
According to Minnesota’s governor, who held a Tuesday press conference announcing that he has a plan to reopen the state which will be announced Thursday, the state should prepare for a “very normal” summer.
“We are going to, potentially by June, have 70 percent of our people, 12 or 16 and above – whichever is authorized by CDC – vaccinated, and that changes the entire calculus,” Gov. Tim Walz (DFL) said Tuesday. “At that point in time, as I’ve said, I think Minnesotans should start assuming that they’re going to have a very normal looking summer.”
Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said fully vaccinated Floridians should go maskless despite the CDC’s recommendations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rivkees rescinded previous public health advisories on Thursday through a three-page advisory saying state offices should return to in-person working environments and long-term mask-wearing can cause unintended consequences.
A mom from Georgia is going viral after demanding that her child’s school board lift mask mandates.
“Every month, I come here and I hear the same thing – social and emotional health,” Courtney Ann Taylor told the Gwinnett County School Board during an April 15 meeting. “”If you truly mean that you would end the mask requirement tonight.”
White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Thursday conceded in a tense exchange with Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise that the Biden administration is violating major Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus guidelines by packing countless illegal immigrants into relatively small facilities without enforcing social distancing or masking measures.
The CDC has aggressively pushed those guidelines over the past year, directing that Americans should work to remain six feet apart from each other in public spaces and wear face coverings when away from the home.
Images from U.S. border facilities over the past several weeks, however, have shown little enforcement of those guidelines among illegal immigrants detained amid the current surge of unlawful migration at the southern border.
Border officials in south Texas consistently face exposure to COVID-19, don’t have the resources to do their job and are regularly called in for overtime shifts, two active agents told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Many Customs and Border Protection (CBP) field agents work 50-hour weeks and now are required to report for 10-hour long overtime shifts even after they are exposed to migrants who test positive for COVID-19, an active CBP agent told the DCNF. The agents spoke on the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak with members of the media.
“CBP gives us a job, but they seem more concerned with getting the job done than with the actual agents,” an active agent told the DCNF. “They want the mission to succeed. We don’t have the resources we need to do our jobs but we make do with what we have. We don’t have enough agents, transport, technology, or aircraft to help us out.”
About 5,800 individuals tested positive for coronavirus after receiving a complete dosage of the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The number of people who have reportedly contracted coronavirus after vaccination represent a tiny sliver of the nearly 77 million fully-vaccinated Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The CDC said that 396 people have required hospitalization and 74 people have died from the virus after they received a full coronavirus vaccine dosage, according to CNN.
The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that they are recommending that the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine be halted after six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot were reported in the United States.
The dangerous clots developed about two weeks after the vaccine was administered in these patients—all of them women between the ages of 18 and 48, according to ABC News.
Undocumented immigrants in Florida have been routinely denied access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.
A valid Florida driver’s license or government-issued I.D., utility bill or rental agreement is required to receive the vaccine, the Herald reported. Other undocumented immigrants who worked as essential workers across the U.S. haven’t been able to receive the vaccine, though some local governments are advocating for other proofs of residency so they will have access.
“What we feel is that they don’t want immigrants vaccinated,” Doris Mejia, an undocumented immigrant living in Florida told the Herald. “They see us as less, yet we work the most.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that the Michigan should implement stricter COVID-19 measures as hospitalizations from the deadly virus surge in the state.
“I would advocate for sort of stronger mitigation strategies, as you know, to sort of decrease the community activity, ensure mask-wearing, and we’re working closely with the state to try and work towards that,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky reportedly said regarding Michigan in a Wednesday briefing.
Landlords are struggling after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended a national ban on certain evictions apparently to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC extended the moratorium, first enacted in Sept. 2020, through June 30.
The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on behalf of Asa Mossman of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and other housing providers.
Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cast doubt on the prevalent theory about the origins of the coronavirus, saying in an interview released Friday that he believes the virus escaped from a science lab in China.
“I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human,” Redfield told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta for a special on the virus that airs Sunday.
Social media companies have policed coronavirus-related content based on information from top health organizations, even as those organizations have contradicted themselves.
Facebook and Google instituted policies early in the pandemic restricting user content shared on their platforms to information that doesn’t contradict World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) findings. However, the organizations have contradicted, backtracked or retracted their own findings throughout the pandemic.
Facebook’s policy states that the site “will debunk common myths that have been identified by the World Health Organization.” Shortly after coronavirus was declared a pandemic, Facebook announced its “Coronavirus Information Center,” which curates updates from “organizations such as the World Health Organization.”