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Trump-appointee judge blocks Biden’s Covid-19 mandate in 10 states

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks to provide an update on the Omicron variant in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (AFP photo)

A US judge has blocked a Covid-19 mandates by President Joe Biden in 10 states across the country.

A Trump appointee, District Judge Matthew Schelp, backed the states’ argument that the mandate on health workers at hospitals would cause staffing shortages.

“The scale falls clearly in favor of healthcare facilities operating with some unvaccinated employees, staff, trainees, students, volunteers and contractors, rather than the swift, irremediable impact of requiring healthcare facilities to choose between two undesirable choices — providing substandard care or providing no healthcare at all,” Schelp wrote in a 32-page order.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the conservative-leaning portion of the population have viewed efforts to tackle the virus with skepticism.

“CMS seeks to overtake an area of traditional state authority by imposing an unprecedented demand to federally dictate the private medical decisions of millions of Americans. Such action challenges traditional notions of federalism," Schelp wrote in his order. “Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate.”

The latest announcement could deepen the rift between Democrats and Republicans over how to handle the pandemic and its repercussions in the United States, which appears to have resulted in the politicization of mandates, masks and vaccines.

This is while the United States has restricted travel from eight southern African countries over the new Covid-19 variant omicron.

“Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high,” the WHO said in its risk assessment. “Depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors including where surges may take place. The overall global risk related to the new VOC [variant of concern] Omicron is assessed as very high.”

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