Following Joe Biden’s angry, threatening announcement of a coming COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all private businesses with 100 or more employees, the country was largely left in limbo. The promised OSHA rule did not immediately emerge and some wondered whether it ever truly would. Was this just a PR stunt to get businesses to preemptively comply with a mandate that ultimately didn’t exist?
Well, it seems we have our answer. OSHA has finished the initial rule and has submitted it to OMB for review. That marks a major step in finalizing the mandate, which could force millions out of work in the coming months.
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been working expeditiously to develop an emergency temporary standard that covers employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing to protect employees from the spread of coronavirus in the workplace,” a Department of Labor spokesperson said in a statement. “On Tuesday, October 12, as part of the regulatory review process, the agency submitted the initial text of the emergency temporary standard to the Office of Management and Budget.”
It appears that the administration is attempting to at least give the impression they are going through the normal rule-making process, which could avoid running up against Supreme Court precedent set during the Trump years regarding the Administrative Procedures Act. Yet, if this is issued under emergency provisions, it would still face headwinds in the courts. More than 20 Republican attorneys general have vowed to fight the mandate, which they call “disastrous.”
Still, in the midst of all the arguments over liberty and legality, both of which are extremely important aspects of this to consider, I’m still struck by just how dumb and unnecessary this all is from a practical standpoint. The original justification for the mandate, as expressed during Biden’s speech, was that the “vaccinated” needed to be “protected” from the “unvaccinated.” Yet, the vaccinated not only spread COVID but there’s more and more evidence they spread it at around the same rate as the unvaccinated. That would make sense given the extremely high caseloads we’ve experienced recently despite having over 75% of adults with at least one dose of the vaccine.
That makes mandates completely pointless. If everyone spreads COVID-19, and they do per the CDC, then you do not need to protect the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. Rather, you would need to protect the vaccinated from the vaccinated as well, which would simply mean ineffective lockdowns, again negating the need for a federally decreed employer mandate.
Of course, the entire idea of protecting the vaccinated is nonsensical too. The vaccines don’t work to prevent transmission, but they do work to prevent serious illness and death. If one is vaccinated, they are already protected. Breakthrough cases are inevitable past that, and these mandates are not based on science, but simply coercion to baseless government demands.