World Covid vaccine stand-off between Chicago mayor, police hits courts
The best- and worst-case scenarios for Covid-19 this winter
Why this winter should be better than the last one.Last December and January, the United States and much of the world experienced the deadliest surges of the pandemic. At one point, more than 3,000 Americans were dying every day of Covid-19. Nearly 250,000 people died in the United States over December, January, and February.
A Chicago judge on Friday banned a police union president from making public statements on the city's Covid-19 policy as a stand-off over vaccine mandates sparked dueling lawsuits.
The dispute between mayor Lori Lightfoot and police union head John Catanzara has made the city the latest flashpoint in a deeply polarized debate over vaccines and whether governments have the right to mandate them.
Lightfoot sought and received an injunction against Catanzara Friday when the judge issued a 10-day restraining order that bans him from making statements that encourage members not to report their vaccination status.
Who are the vaccine hesitant and why they are waiting
Neti Ajro was struggling for breath and had never experienced so much pain. Yet he was accused of having faked COVID-19 symptoms and of being a paid actor.Neti Ajro, a healthy 44-year-old from Melbourne's north, was struggling for breath in his hospital bed.
The police union filed its own lawsuit Friday against Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown that seeks to force arbitration over the matter.
Like all city employees, Chicago police officers have been mandated to report their vaccine status to an online portal by midnight Friday. Those not vaccinated will be subject to twice-weekly testing.
Those who refuse to disclose their status have a few days' grace to explain themselves -- but face being placed on unpaid leave and eventually fired.
In two videos released this week, Catanzara urged police officers to ignore the order and risk loss of pay.
On Tuesday, he predicted that if a large number of officers refused to be tested or report their vaccinations, Chicago would have a "police force at 50 percent or less for this weekend."
Chicago police union president is telling members to not comply with vaccine mandate
The Chicago police union is just days away from the city's deadline for a vaccine mandate, but many may not comply . According to FOX 32 Chicago, Fraternal Order of Police: Chicago Lodge No. 7 President John Catanzara is telling members to not put their vaccination status into the city’s portal, which is part of the city’s mandate. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said all city workers must report their vaccine status to the city by Oct. 15.
Lightfoot responded by saying: "I cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago's residents and first responders."
She also said Catanzara was "encouraging a work stoppage or strike."
Both state law and the union contract prohibits Chicago police from striking.
The union responded with a tweet Friday saying: "President John Catanzara has never engaged in, supported, or encouraged a work stoppage."
Since issuing the mandate, Lightfoot's approach has softened. Backing down from a rule that mandated vaccination for city employees, she has since agreed to give the unvaccinated an alternative: twice-weekly tests for the rest of the year.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 228 US police officers have died from Covid-19 so far this year, making it by far the leading cause of death in the line of duty among the 356 fatalities recorded.
The Chicago stand-off comes as the city once again leads the United States in murders, with 639 homicides this year through October 13 -- up 55 percent from two years ago.
With shootings also up 68 percent over the period and carjackings heading for a record, the threat of losing much of the police force, even temporarily, has caused a deep sense of unease.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker told a conservative radio host that he would consider calling up the National Guard.
"We've offered every resource, every public safety resource that's available to the state to offer municipalities to the city of Chicago, so if the city calls us, we'll respond," Pritzker said.
Vaccine mandate challenge expands to more than 100 plaintiffs .
A legal challenge to Victoria's COVID-19 vaccine mandate launched by a teacher and her husband has been dramatically expanded to include more than 100 plaintiffs from a broad range of occupations, including an employee of CSL which manufactures the vaccine.Revised documents filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria accuse Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and other senior health bureaucrats of breaching the state's Human Rights Charter when they imposed vaccine mandates across several industries, including health, education and construction.