Don’t Let The Lockdown Artists Bring COVID Hysteria Back

Don’t Let The Lockdown Artists Bring COVID Hysteria Back

By Stephen Moore |

COVID mania just won’t go away. The deadly strains of the virus have been gone for two years now, and yet the recent outbreak of a mild flu-like variant is again stoking panic on the Left.

Nearly 100 universities are requiring masks this fall.

Lionsgate movie studios in Los Angeles and Atlanta-based Morris Brown College this week stated they are reinstating not just mask mandates but social distancing measures and contact tracing.

CNN, which led the panic in 2020 and 2021 — causing manic school, restaurant and business shutdowns and vaccine mandates — recently put out a headline on its website that encouraged its readers not to go outside without a mask on. Really? The latest evidence finds this is less dangerous than a normal flu virus and tracking data suggest that the wave has already peaked.

What’s even more disturbing here is that the leftist medical community and the media aren’t renouncing their calls for mitigation strategies that were catastrophically wrong in the panic era of 2020 and 2021 — but instead calling for more of these assaults on freedom in the future.

It is one thing for well-meaning medical experts to have disagreed about how to best combat a once-in-a-half-century deadly virus. We didn’t know exactly what we were dealing with. But now we know with concrete scientific evidence that most mandates and lockdowns had a small impact on the spread of the virus and on fatalities. It turns out there was almost no difference in death rates in states with strict lockdowns and no lockdowns at all. The same is true of cross-country evidence.

Healthy children were never at risk from COVID (something we knew early on), so shutting down schools for one or two years was a sop to the teachers unions but a disaster for this generation of kids. Test scores are the worst in 30 years.

Before the pandemic, only 15% of public school students were chronically absent — more than 18 or more days a year.

Stanford University education professor Thomas Dee’s data shows an estimated 6.5 million additional students are now chronically absent. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, chronic absenteeism remains double its pre-pandemic rate.

But polls show that Democrats — even those that are highly educated — generally still support the lockdowns that were mandated. These are the same people who lecture about “following the science.” The most comprehensive study by experts at Johns Hopkins University found death rates from lockdowns were reduced by 0.1 percent. But how many people died from the isolation of lockdowns, delayed health screening from cancer, the increase in drug overdoses?

Biden’s vaccine mandates only made Americans more resistant to get pricked. They backfired.

Worst of all, Anthony Fauci, who remains a hero of the Left, recently not only refused to admit the errors of his advice but said the “lockdown was absolutely justified.”

Why does this bizarre rewrite of recent history matter? Because the fearmongering Left can’t wait to install new lockdowns every time we have a new flu virus and health scare. They’ve even started putting out feelers for occasional climate change economic shutdowns.

Those who love freedom must strenuously resist this coming tyranny.

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Stephen Moore is a contributor to The Daily Caller News Foundation, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and chief economist at FreedomWorks.

Arizonans Getting Exhausted By COVID-19 Mandate Chaos

Arizonans Getting Exhausted By COVID-19 Mandate Chaos

By Terri Jo Neff |

COVID-19 exhaustion is not a medical term, although what it represents can be as emotionally fatiguing as the virus can be physically draining. It describes the sense of frustration and weariness that comes from reacting 24/7 to a pandemic for the last 20 months.

AZ Free News looks at some of the events which occurred last week in federal courthouses, corporate offices, and the Arizona statehouse which illustrate the confusing regulations, legal rulings, and political posturing commonly found with COVID-19 exhaustion.

Private vs. Public Employees

On Dec. 15, Gov. Doug Ducey issued yet another executive order concerning COVID-19. Among the nine-page order are 19 words which seemingly ensure municipal, county, and state officials cannot impose any COVID-19 vaccination on citizens, businesses, or public employees:

“No person shall be required by this state, or any city, town or county to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine…”

Yet just two days later, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero issued a dismissive response to Ducey’s order as she doubled down on enforcing a city ordinance passed in November that allows for termination of any city employee who did not provide prove of vaccination or had not gone through an exemption process.

Meanwhile, the illnesses and deaths of several public safety workers across Arizona who contracted COVID-19 are being classified as work-related, which allows for various financial benefits for the employee or family. At the same time, a growing number of private companies have discontinued assistance for unvaccinated frontline employees who contact COVID-19.

The latest employer to do so is Kroger Co., which owns 2,700 supermarkets and multi-department stores across the country under several names. In Arizona, Kroger operates the Fry’s Food Stores.

According to Kroger’s announcement, any of the company’s 465,000 employees who are not vaccinated will no longer be eligible for two weeks of paid emergency leave if they fall ill. In addition, a $50 monthly health insurance surcharge will soon be imposed onunvaccinated nonunion employees.

A similar COVID-19 health plan surcharge was implemented by Pima County against several hundred of its employees who have not been vaccinated.  The county’s action, which is expected to cost employees $100 a month, is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed last week by the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs (AZCOPS).

Another problem that has developed as a result of various vaccination mandates is the uneven -and potentially discriminatory- decisions by companies and government entities in response to applications for religious and medical exemptions. There are also concerns over employee privacy.

The City of Phoenix issued its own COVID-19 vaccination mandate back in November, citing the city’s status as a federal contractor. The city’s 14,000 or so employees were given a Jan. 18 deadline, along with the option of applying for a medical or religious exemption.

Many employees balked at the exemption process after learning they would have to reveal deeply personal medical and religious information to fellow city employees with the Human Resources, Equal Opportunity, and Law departments.

The Phoenix mandate is on hold while the federal court address challenges to the Biden Administration’s federal contractor vaccination mandate. If reactivated, the city’s mandate allows for termination.

Federal Court Decisions

While a legal challenge or two have been threatened against Ducey’s latest executive order, Arizonans who work for the federal government have not had success challenging President Joe Biden’s executive order that requires federal employees to get the shot.

But for workers of private companies with 100 or more employees, for those who work for a federal contractor, or whose employer receives Medicare & Medicaid funds, things get a whole lot murkier.   

A federal appeals court recently put on hold the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rules which require staff at any facility which participates in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to get the COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of whether that staff member has patient contact.

But even if that rule never goes into effect, healthcare workers in Arizona may not have recourse to challenge any employer mandated vaccination policy, thanks to Ducey’s Dec. 15 executive order. The governor specifically allows “a health care institution licensed pursuant to A.R.S. Title 36, Chapter 4” to require its employees to be vaccinated, although a medical and religious exemption must be offered.

There is also a Biden executive order which requires federal contractors and subcontractors to implement a mandatory employee vaccination policy. A federal court order put that mandate on hold earlier this month, but the U.S. Department of Justice continues to argue the President has authority to impose such a requirement on America’s private businesses.  

The Biden Administration mandate with the biggest reach is one issued by OSHA that affects more than 80 million workers. An emergency OSHA rule requires companies with 100 or more employees to implement COVID-19 vaccination protocols or face financial penalties. The OSHA rule also requires unvaccinated workers to undergo frequent testing, and only provides for a medical exemption.  

A federal court had put the OSHA rule on hold due to legal challenges from multiple states and employers. However, last Friday a federal appellate court allowed the mandate to go into effect pending any possible action by the U.S. Supreme Court which was asked on Saturday by several parties to get involved sooner than later.

It did not take long for OSHA to react to last week’s lifting of the hold. The agency issued a statement Saturday warning those companies with more than 100 employees to comply by Jan. 10 or face citations and penalties.   

The Trauma Surgeon 

Mental COVID-19 exhaustion can also be caused by the frustration brought on by inane vaccination mandate protocols. A glaring head-scratcher of such a mandate comes from Phoenix-based Banner Health, Arizona’s largest private employer.

Until recently, Dr. Devin L. Gray held medical privileges at several Banner hospitals, just as he does at many other Maricopa County hospitals. But Gray, a surgeon with 30 years of experience, is no longer allowed to use his specialty skills as a life-saving trauma surgeon at Banner’s facilities.

The reason? A Banner Health administrator did not find Gray’s request for a religious exemption to the company’s vaccination mandate to be sincere. The other hospitals -Arizona General Hospitals, Chandler Regional Medical Center, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, and Mountain View Medical Center- did.

Gray has asked the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to look into the exemption inconsistencies, as well as the amount of deeply personal information some companies are demanding from employees who apply for a medical or religious exemption.

In the meantime, Gray has been told by a Banner Health executive that he can be treated as a patient at their facilities. He is also free to visit patients at a Banner facility. But he can’t treat those patients’ medical emergencies.

Arizonans Getting Exhausted By COVID-19 Mandate Chaos

The City of Phoenix Vaccine Mandate Is Dangerous and Outrageous

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Vaccines should always be voluntary and never be forced. But apparently, the City of Phoenix doesn’t care about freedom.

Last month, the city announced that its employees will have until January 18, 2022 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. And it doesn’t even matter if they work from home. The new policy lacks any sort of exemption for that because, of course, these mandates aren’t based on commonsense.

But don’t worry. Employees will receive $75 as a “thanks” for their compliance. And with rampant inflation and rising oil prices, that should cover at least one tank of gas. Maybe.

The city claims that its simply following President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors. But this just further shows how comfortable Phoenix is with such a blatant abuse of power.

And it ignores another significant issue.


The Arizona Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Budget Bills Creates Uncertainty and Frustration

The Arizona Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Budget Bills Creates Uncertainty and Frustration

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Devastating. That’s how it felt earlier this week when the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s ruling in Arizona School Boards Association v. State of Arizona. This decision strikes down critical reforms contained in a series of Budget Reconciliation Bills passed by lawmakers and signed by Governor Ducey earlier this year.

And it’s a big blow to the people of Arizona.

This past July, Arizona lawmakers took important steps to protect our state from more COVID mandates and government overreach. Among the laws passed were bans on:

  • A county, city, or town from issuing COVID ordinances that impact private businesses, schools, churches, or other private entities, including mask mandates.
  • K-12 schools from requiring vaccines with an emergency use authorization for in-person attendance.
  • The state and any city, town, or county from establishing COVID vaccine passports or requiring COVID vaccines.
  • Public universities and community colleges from mandating COVID vaccines and vaccine passports.
  • A city, town, county, school board, or charter school from mandating students and teachers to be vaccinated or wear masks.

But COVID wasn’t the only thing these Budget Reconciliation Bills addressed.


The Arizona Supreme Court Should Uphold New Laws Banning Mask Mandates, Vaccine Mandates, and Critical Race Theory

The Arizona Supreme Court Should Uphold New Laws Banning Mask Mandates, Vaccine Mandates, and Critical Race Theory

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

This past July, Arizona lawmakers and Governor Ducey did the right thing. Through a series of Budget Reconciliation Bills, they took important steps to protect the people of Arizona from more COVID mandates and to prevent children from being indoctrinated in public schools by Critical Race Theory.

While COVID was certainly an issue that warranted some action, it never should have included trampling on the rights of the people. And we definitely should not be wasting tax dollars on lessons that teach public school students that one race, ethnic group, or sex is in any way superior to another.

Not surprisingly, these laws sent teachers’ unions into a tailspin. As students headed back to campus, some Arizona schools decided to teach students that it’s ok to violate the law. And the Arizona Board of Regents recently announced that all three state universities will require their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8.

Then, there’s the lawsuit

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