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Posts Tagged ‘Mandates’

I remember when Bob was in high school, he scored a summer job at our local munitions factory, ironically named Hercules Powder Company. The pay was ten times better than anything else around because it was considered “hazardous duty.” After all, make the wrong move and the whole place could blow up.

When we lived in the Berkshires, and the AIDs crisis hit, it occurred to me that he was also at risk when he went to work. If a nurse or tech could not find a vein in an HIV patient, they would fetch my husband. Needle sticks were a fairly common way healthcare workers contracted communicable diseases like hepatitis.

Today’s healthcare workers are at risk each and every day, but not from a Blood Born virus, from the Coronavirus. We all know how it’s transmitted. There are no mosquitoes or fleas or rodents involved, and sexual transmission was never an issue. No, this novel virus likes to just hang out in the air we breathe. And with this new Omicron variant, it’s absolutely everywhere.

I’m bringing this up in light of the latest stupid decision our right-leaning SCOTUS made yesterday – that the risk of contracting Covid is “not a work-related danger.” Therefore businesses (of 100 or more employees) do not have the right to require vaccinations for their employees… even though an individual could opt out by being masked and tested weekly. This decision affects 84 million workers.

“In the end, Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates stood or fell based on judicial interpretations of federal statute, not principles of individual liberty or appeals to the greater good. According to a majority of the Supreme Court, Mr Biden had the law on his side when ordering healthcare workers to get vaccinated, but using a 51-year-old workplace safety statute to implement a vaccine-or-test requirement on all large employers was a bridge too far.”

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-59989476

So, the government can order vaccinations for government-funded healthcare workers, new armed forces recruits, and so far, for public schoolchildren, but not for private businesses. The reasoning?: “Although Covid-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most.”

I disagree… IT’S IN THE AIR PEOPLE. It’s unavoidable – where ever you are – if you are a living breathing sentient being.. That’s why most of us have been limiting our indoor activities to a select few people, and not dining indoors, and not going to concerts or bars. If we venture into a Walgreens, we mask up!

Now this may be a jump too far, but I’m worried about how this thinking will play out when SCOTUS rules on the “All or Nothing” Mississippi abortion fight in the spring. One could argue that getting pregnant is an occupational risk if one is female. And pregnancy can indeed be hazardous – it can give you gestational diabetes, it can produce high blood pressure, anemia, pre-term labor, preeclampsia, infection, and like the Bride, you may end up needing surgery because the baby is upside down!

And surgery for a breech birth is not easy, let me tell you.

So I’m wondering how the government thinks that interfering with a woman’s Constitutional right to choose what she does with her own body is OK? Do you think it’s fine for old/White/mostly/male mostly Christian legislators to pass laws forcing women to carry a pregnancy to term, despite her wishes and her doctor’s recommendations? Isn’t this flying too close to a dystopian Margaret Atwood novel?

Let’s not forget, you can always leave your newborn at a firehouse.

In the middle of a two year pandemic, that has outwitted us largely because of the GOP’s strategy of misinformation and lies, our highest court has decided to bend to the pressure of big business. There was a time, early on, when the Groom’s ICU was filled with chicken factory workers. There was also a time when it was filled with pregnant women, who lost their much wanted babies.

If your work includes leaving your home to mix and mingle with co-workers, I’d argue that it is hazardous; whether it means in an office or on a factory floor.

I’m glad Bob has retired and doesn’t have to suit up in PPE just to see patients in an ER. The Bride is seeing so many people for stomach problems, bleeding and any random injury you could think of, and most are testing positive for Covid… as an aside, as an incremental finding. One of our friends was scheduled for knee replacement surgery, and her pre-operative blood work came back positive for Covid. She had no symptoms, but she was twice vaccinated and boosted.

Living can be risky. So be careful out there.

Keeping Calm and Carrying On

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