- The American Medical Association said in a filing with the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that COVID-19 poses a “serious threat to the public”.
- The AMA, arguing in support of Biden’s policy, told the court that the transmission of Covid at the workplace played a major role in spreading the virus.
- “The more staff get vaccinated, the closer we are to slowing the spread of the virus and creating a safer environment,” the doctors’ union told the court.
The largest group of doctors in the US warned a federal appeals court on Monday that President Joe Biden’s halting of testing requirements for vaccines and private businesses would “severely and irreparably harm the public interest” because of COVID-19. The highly permeable delta tension expands.
The American Medical Association said in a filing with the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, COVID-19 posed a “serious threat to the public” that “has wreaked havoc in communities across the country,” more than 755,000 Americans. has died. hospitalizing 3.25 million people, and infecting more than 46 million.
“COVID-19 presents a serious risk to public health in this circuit and across the country,” the doctors’ union said in the filing. “As of November 12, 2021, more than 76,000 people have died of COVID-19 in four states in this circuit alone,” the group said. The Sixth Circuit consists of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
The AMA, arguing in support of Biden’s policy, told the court that transmission of Covid in the workplace played a major role in spreading the virus, pointing to an outbreak in industries ranging from meat-processing and transportation to hospitality and construction. Is.
The doctors’ union said the COVID vaccines are safe and highly effective, and provide the most effective way to protect workers from infection. The AMA argued that vaccine requirements are “critical” to curb or eradicate infectious diseases, citing previous vaccine mandates for measles and smallpox.
“The more staff get vaccinated, the closer we are to slowing the spread of the virus and creating a safer environment,” the doctors’ union told the court. The AMA filed as a friend of the court to provide its expertise, saying it “is interested in providing evidence-based guidance on public health issues.”
“Prompt, widespread vaccination against COVID-19 is the surest way to protect the American workforce and public, and to end this costly pandemic,” the group said.
The AMA’s filing comes after a coalition representing doctors, nurses and pharmacists issued a joint statement to support Biden’s policy. The group included the AMA, the American College of Physicians, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the National League for Nursing, the National Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association.
In a statement published last Thursday, the groups said, “We—physicians, nurses and advanced practice physicians, health specialists, and health care professional societies—fully support the requirement that workers from companies with more than 100 workers be be vaccinated or tested.” “We encourage all businesses with 100 or more employees not to delay implementing this standard,” he said.
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has forced the Biden administration to suspend its implementation and enforcement of the requirements. The appellate court, one of the most conservative in the country, on November 6 stayed the pending review requirements. Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt said in an opinion to a three-judge panel on 12 November that the requirements are “fatally flawed” and “shockingly overbroad,” raising “serious constitutional concerns”.
The Biden administration has said the court-ordered pause in the spread of the virus could “kill dozens or even hundreds of lives per day”.
Public health officials are concerned the US faces another wave of infections as Americans stay indoors to escape the winter chill and gather with families over the holidays. The US is recording an average of more than 92,000 infections per day, up 16% from last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Roughly 50,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with the virus, up 6% from a week ago, based on a seven-day average of data from the Department of Health and Human Services. The daily average of 1,122 reported deaths tracked by Hopkins is a little less than 3% over the past week. But rising numbers indicate that the death toll could rise in the next few weeks.
More than two dozen lawsuits have been filed against vaccination and testing requirements. The Republican attorney general, private companies and national industry groups such as the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Association and the National Federation of Independent Business have sued to overturn the requirements. Labor unions have sued to cover small businesses and expand requirements to protect more workers.
Those lawsuits were moved to the Sixth Circuit last week after the Biden administration asked a multi-district litigation panel to consolidate them into a single court through random selection. The Sixth Circuit has a majority of judges appointed by Republicans.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which regulates workplace safety for the Department of Labor, issued the rules under its emergency authority established by Congress. OSHA could shorten the general rule-making process, which could take years, if the Secretary of Labor determines that a new workplace safety standard is necessary to protect workers from serious hazards.
Businesses with 100 or more employees had until January 4 to ensure that their employees were vaccinated or submitted a negative COVID test weekly to enter the workplace. Non-vaccinated employees were required to start wearing facemasks indoors at workplace from December 5.
The AMA argued Monday that the requirements are “appropriately structured to strongly encourage vaccination.”
With requirements currently on pause as litigation is underway, the future of Biden’s policy remains uncertain. Legal experts believe that the matter will eventually be decided by the Supreme Court.
“Whoever loses in the Sixth Circuit is going to the Supreme Court,” Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told CNBC last week.