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WHO Official Says Mask Mandates & Social Distancing Should Continue Indefinitely
A top WHO official says that mask mandates and social distancing should continue indefinitely in order to protect against new variants of COVID-19.
The comments were made on Sky News by the Special Envoy on COVID for the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr David Nabarro.
Nabarro suggested that there would be a long list of mutations of the Indian variant which would in some cases evade the protection offered by vaccines.
Pete Buttigieg Says Federal Government Should ‘Encourage’ Vaccine Passports
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said that the federal government should “encourage” private businesses to implement vaccine passports when he was asked this week about Texas’s ban on the practice.
“If a company, a business wants to take steps to keep their workers and their passengers safe, I would think that, from a government perspective, we want to do everything we can to encourage that,” Buttigieg told KDFW FOX 4 in Dallas on Monday. “And that’s certainly our view at the federal level.”
America’s Largest Healthcare Union Vows to Fight Mandatory COVID Vaccines
Earlier this month, New York-Presbyterian became the first hospital system in the state to required employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s a step that a growing number of hospitals across the country are taking, but one that 1199SEIU, the largest health care union in the country, is prepared to fight.
“Whether there is a legal challenge that we can make, or whether it’s just a pure organizational challenge that we can make, we are not going to just give in,” George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU, told WNYC/Gothamist. The union is headquartered in New York City but represents health care workers throughout the state and in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and Washington, D.C.
University Fires Surgeon Who Voiced Safety Concerns About COVID Vaccines for Kids
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms represents Dr. Francis Christian, clinical professor of general surgery at the University of Saskatchewan and a practicing surgeon in Saskatoon. Christian was called into a meeting Wednesday, suspended from all teaching responsibilities effective immediately, and fired from his position with the University of Saskatchewan as of September 2021.
There is a recording of Christian’s meeting yesterday between Christian and Dr. Preston Smith, the Dean of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine, Dr. Susan Shaw, the Chief Medical Officer of the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Dr. Brian Ulmer, head of the Department of Surgery at the Saskatchewan College of Medicine.
Florida Urges Judge To Reject Facebook Censorship Arguments
Accusing social media platforms of censorship, Florida attorneys late Monday pushed back against an attempt to block a new state law that would put restrictions on companies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The state, in a 61-page court filing, argued that U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle should reject a request by online industry groups for a preliminary injunction against the law, a top priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The law, which is scheduled to take effect July 1, seeks to prevent large social media companies from barring political candidates from their platforms and would require companies to publish — and apply consistently — standards about issues such as blocking users.
Pennsylvania House Votes on Issue of ‘Vaccine Passports,’ Health Secretary Limits
Republicans in the Pennsylvania House are advancing legislation to ban the use of so-called COVID-19 “vaccine passports” by colleges, universities or government buildings and to put new restrictions on the health secretary’s powers during a health emergency.
Representatives voted on party lines Wednesday to approve the measure that supporters described as a way to protect private health information. But opponents warn it would needlessly endanger public health.
The bill would prevent the state health secretary from ordering closures and from requiring people who have not been exposed to a contagion to physically distance, wear a mask, “conduct a specific hygienic practice” such as hand-washing, quarantine or restrict travel.
Taiwan Says Discussing COVID Vaccine Passports
Taiwan is in talks with international bodies about COVID-19 vaccine passports, the head of its Centres for Disease Control said on Thursday, which could help ease long-standing travel restrictions.
Taiwan has previously considered such a scheme, but has been extremely cautious about opening its largely-closed borders lest it lets in more infections, and is currently on high alert to stop the highly contagious Delta variant.
San Francisco Will Mandate COVID Vaccinations for Every City Employee
The San Francisco Chronicle reported the latest move would make San Francisco the first city or county in California, and probably in the country, to require COVID-19 vaccinations for government workers.
City employees who don’t have a medical or religious exemption and don’t comply with the vaccine requirement could lose their jobs.
Why the Tech Antitrust Reform Bills Are Struggling to Move Forward
Watching Congress debate a package of tech reform bills this week has been sort of like watching a group of people ordered to eat a giant submarine sandwich all at the same time. Everyone has started in a different place, no one agrees on a path forward, and people almost can’t help butting heads.
This should be a moment of huge importance in the history of tech and democracy in the United States. The House Judiciary Committee investigated competition in the tech industry for a year. During that time, Congress held 10 hearings. In the end, a 449-page report on the subject was produced. And from that report came a package of bills that, if passed, would reshape the tech industry and probably some other large corporations as well.
Hong Kong’s Apple Daily to Live on in Blockchain, Free of Censors
Hong Kong cyber activists are backing up articles by pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily on censorship-proof blockchain platforms after the newspaper was forced to shut down as it became embroiled in a national security law crackdown.
The latest drive to preserve the paper’s content comes after activists rushed to upload documentaries by local broadcaster RTHK investigating people in power after the media outlet said it would remove materials older than one year from its social media platforms.
Under the national security law, the Hong Kong government can request the blocking or removal of content it deems subversive or secessionist, raising fears over internet freedom in the global financial hub.
Antitrust Overhaul Passes Its First Tests. Now, the Hard Parts
Capitol Hill politicians have groused for years about the power and influence of the country’s largest tech companies. But they took little action to match their rhetoric.
That started to change on Wednesday, when House lawmakers took their first votes on a suite of bills that are meant to weaken the dominance of Big Tech. The bills, six in all, would bulk up antitrust agencies, make it harder to acquire potential rivals, and prevent platforms from selling or promoting their own products to disadvantage competitors.
The votes by members of the Judiciary Committee to advance some of the bills showed the growing bipartisan agreement for taking on the tech companies. A handful of Republicans joined the widespread support among Democrats for the bills.