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Politics Overnight Health Care: CDC says fully vaccinated people can safely travel | Biden bemoans those acting as though COVID-19 fight over | Will vaccine passports be the biggest campaign issue of 2022?

00:50  03 april  2021
00:50  03 april  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. A new phrase for cohorting classes to help reduce the risk of COVID-19: "The full Harry Potter" (i.e. you stay in your assigned house). Via Caitlin Rivers from Johns Hopkins on Twitter.

a large white airplane in the sky: Overnight Health Care: CDC says fully vaccinated people can safely travel | Biden bemoans those acting as though COVID-19 fight over | Will vaccine passports be the biggest campaign issue of 2022? © Getty Overnight Health Care: CDC says fully vaccinated people can safely travel | Biden bemoans those acting as though COVID-19 fight over | Will vaccine passports be the biggest campaign issue of 2022?

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Today: CDC says vaccinated people can travel, but isn't really encouraging anyone to right now. President Biden is urging people not to let down their guard. And Republicans are starting to move against vaccine passports.

We'll start with CDC guidance:

CDC says fully vaccinated people can safely travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in new guidance on Friday that fully vaccinated people can safely travel.

The agency further said fully vaccinated people do not need to get tested before or after domestic travel unless the destination requires it. People should still wear a mask while they travel, the agency said, and people should get tested three to five days after international travel, given the increased risk of virus variants internationally.

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Unvaccinated people are still advised not to travel, the CDC said.

But the CDC director also issued a general warning on travel: At the same time as the agency issued the guidance, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky still sounded a cautionary note about travel overall at a White House press briefing on Friday.

"We know that right now we have a surging number of cases," she said when asked to clarify whether the agency was still calling on vaccinated people to avoid travel that is not essential. "I would advocate against general travel overall. Our guidance is silent on recommending or not recommending fully vaccinated people travel. Our guidance speaks to the safety of doing so. If you are vaccinated it is lower risk."

Read more here.

But Biden says don't let down your guard. He bemoaned too many acting as if COVID-19 fight over: 'It is not'

President Biden on Friday cautioned Americans against letting their guard down against the coronavirus pandemic, warning that the country's progress against COVID-19 could be lost if people aren't vigilant.

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"Too many Americans are acting as if this fight is over. It is not," Biden said during remarks on the March jobs report.

Biden's timeline: "I've told people that if my administration did the hard work of getting shots to all Americans in the next few months, if the American people continued to do their part - mask up, practice social distancing - we could have a more normal July 4th," he continued. "But this is still April, not July. We aren't there yet. And so cases are going up again. The virus is spreading more rapidly in many places. Deaths are going up in some states."

"So I ask, I plead with you: Don't give back the progress we've all fought so hard to achieve. We need to finish this job," the president added.

Big picture: Administration officials have sought to balance optimism about the increasing number of vaccinated Americans with the reality of rising case numbers as states loosen restrictions on businesses and as more contagious variants spread.

Read more here.

Will vaccine passports be the biggest campaign issue of 2022?

Partisan battle lines are being drawn around coronavirus vaccine passports in what could become one of the defining issues of the 2022 midterm elections.

Why some Republicans think vaccine passports will backfire on Democrats

  Why some Republicans think vaccine passports will backfire on Democrats Republicans are seizing on the intensifying debate over coronavirus vaccination passports as part of their strategy for recapturing control of Congress in 2022. In interviews and conversations with The Hill, GOP strategists and operatives acknowledged the growing eagerness among Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But many are also betting that emerging debates about so-called vaccine passports will help them play on voters' fears of government overreach and privacy violations.

A growing number of the Republican Party's most conservative members have seized on the passport proposals and expected guidance from the White House, blasting them as an example of government overreach that would isolate Americans who choose not to get vaccinated and violate the privacy of those who do.

The strategy could backfire: But that strategy carries some risks for the GOP, potentially giving Democrats a platform to tout their response to the coronavirus outbreak while simultaneously forcing Republicans to navigate the politics of the pandemic well into 2022.

"It's red meat for the base, sure, but this doesn't help us win back the middle," one veteran GOP campaign aide said. "It's just more of the culture wars ... and it also means talking about COVID instead of the damage being done by Democrats."

An example of Republican criticism: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), the controversial congresswoman whose conspiratorial remarks have drawn criticism even from some in her own party, this week dubbed the passports President Biden's "mark of the beast" and called the proposal a form of "corporate communism."

Read more here.

Speaking of which, a sign of the GOP backlash: DeSantis issues executive order banning vaccine passports

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an executive order on Friday banning "vaccine passports" that require people to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

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"Today I issued an executive order prohibiting the use of so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports," DeSantis announced on Twitter. "The Legislature is working on making permanent these protections for Floridians and I look forward to signing them into law soon."

What it does: The order prevents government entities from issuing "vaccine passports, vaccine passes, or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying an individual's COVID-19 vaccine status to a third party."

It also prohibits businesses in the state from requiring customers or patrons to provide documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or "post-transmission recovery" to receive services. Businesses can still institute COVID-19 screening protocols.

Read more here.

Johnson & Johnson expands COVID vaccine trial to include adolescents

Johnson & Johnson is expanding its coronavirus vaccine trials to include adolescents as young as 12 years old, the company said Friday.

The phase 2a trial began in September and was initially designed to study single-dose and two-dose regimens of the vaccine in healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years, as well as adults 65 and older. The study is now including children ages 12 to 17.

The goal: "The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on adolescents, not just with the complications of the disease, but with their education, mental health, and wellbeing," Paul Stoffels, the company's chief scientific officer, said in a statement. "It is vital that we develop vaccines for everyone, everywhere, to help combat the spread of the virus with the goal to return to everyday life."

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Next steps: The vaccine will initially be tested in a small number of adolescents ages 16 and 17. Following the review of initial data, the company said the study will be expanded to a larger group of younger adolescents in a "stepwise approach," meaning progressively younger groups.

Read more here.

What we're reading

Former Biden, Trump advisers renew push to delay second Covid vaccine (Stat News)

There's a new lawsuit attacking Obamacare - and it's a serious threat (Vox.com)

Vaccine 'Fiasco' Damages Europe's Credibility (New York Times)

State by state

Giant holds off on ordering vaccine as D.C. residents cancel appointments (Washington Post)

North Carolina, for the first time, reports no 'red' counties (News & Observer)

Fourth Wave? These Statistics Show the Rise in COVID Cases in Massachusetts (NBC Boston)

A small New Mexico town’s journey through COVID reaches a milestone: Vaccination day .
A brief COVID-19 scare creates an unexpected opportunity for a rural New Mexico town to come together for the first time in a year.At least that’s how it might have appeared to an outsider visiting from a big city.

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