Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

August 2022
S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: COVID-19

TSA Employees Hammered by COVID-19 Outbreak at LAX

By Steve Neavling

A COVID-19 outbreak has hit Los Angeles International Airport, infecting at least 233 TSA employees and more than 150 workers at American and Southwest airlines, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The outbreak comes three months after the TSA stopped reporting the number of its employees who are actively infected with the coronavirus.

The TSA and LAX told The Los Angeles Times that the outbreak has not impacted services.

“There has not been any effect to security lines at LAX,” said Daniel D. Velez, a spokesperson for TSA.

As of March, when the TSA was still posting the number of positive cases among TSA employees, nearly 23,000 of its workers had been infected by COVID-19 and 36 had died, more than any other federal agency. 

Thousands of Border Patrol Agents Face Potential Termination for Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

Thousands of Border Patrol agents face potential termination for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, at a time when the agency is struggling with staffing. 

Of the roughly 21,000 agents, nearly 4,000 disclosed that they were unvaccinated as of late November 2021, the Washington Examiner reports.

The federal government is requiring all of its employees to be vaccinated. 

A court paused that mandate in January. But in April, another court revived the mandate, putting federal employees at risk of termination. 

“That bar is now lifted, and the federal agencies are now clear to proceed with whatever disciplinary actions they were going to move on with respect to unvaccinated people,” said John J. Michels Jr., counsel for the Federal Practice Group in Washington. 

TSA Removes COVID-19 Employee Information After Mask Mandate Lifted

By Steve Neavling

The TSA is no longer reporting the number of its employees who are actively infected with COVID-19, Forbes first reported.

The move came after a federal judge struck down the mask mandate aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. 

As of last month, when the agency was still posting the number of positive cases among TSA employees, nearly 23,000 of its workers had been infected by COVID-19 and 36 had died, more than any other federal agency. 

The agency removed the number of total confirmed cases, as well as a list of airports and the number of employees who were infected at each. 

“TSA was among the only agencies to report its infection information so transparently,” a TSA spokesperson told Forbes via email.

On Monday, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Florida judge who was appointed by President Donald Trump, struck down the mask requirement on airplanes, trains, buses, and other public transportation. 

The Justice Department said Wednesday that it is appealing the decision. 

TSA Stops Enforcing Mask Mandate After Federal Judge Strikes it Down

By Steve Neavling

By Steve Neavling

The TSA stopped enforcing its mask mandate on planes, trains and other forms of public transportation after a federal judge struck down the requirement. 

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of the Middle District in Florida said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority and failed to adequately explains its reason for the mandate, Politico reports.

“It is indisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of Covid-19,” Mizelle wrote. “In pursuit of that end, the CDC issued the mask mandate. But the mandate exceeded the CDC statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions. Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in the pursuit of desirable ends, the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate.”

The Biden administration has not yet determined how it will respond to the ruling, but for now, masks won’t be required on planes, trains and other forms of transportation. 

“Today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time,” an administration official said. “Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time. CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.”

AG Garland Tests Positive for COVID-19 After Unmasked Press Conference with FBI Director

Attorney General Merrick Garland. (Photo: DOJ)

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General Merrick Garland has tested positive for COVID-19, the Justice Department announced just hours after he held a news conference with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and others. 

Garland, 69, was not experiencing symptoms and tested positive after learning he may have been exposed to the virus, the DOJ said, according to ABC News.

“He asked to be tested after learning that he may have been exposed,” the DOJ said in a statement.

Garland, who is vaccinated and boosted, will follow CDC guidelines and work virtually from home while in quarantine. 

Garland tested positive after attending a Gridiron dinner in Washington D.C. on Saturday. Others who attended the event – Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas – have tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

As of Thursday morning, there was no word on Wray, Monaco and others who attended the unmasked press conference Wednesday.

Homeland Security Warns of Potential Truck Protest Targeting Super Bowl, State of the State

Truck protest in Canada. Photo by Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security is warning local and state authorities that the truck blockade by Canadians protesting COVID-19 restrictions may target locations in the U.S., including the Super Bowl and State of the Union.  

In a bulletin to law enforcement agencies, the agency says it has received reports that truckers are planning to “potentially block roads in major metropolitan cities.”

The Super Bowl in Los Angeles is scheduled for Sunday, and the State of the Union address in Washington D.C. is on March 1. 

“DHS is tracking reports of a potential convoy that may be planning to travel to several U.S. cities,” an agency spokesperson told NPR. “We have not observed specific calls for violence within the United States associated with this convoy and are working closely with our federal, state and local partners to continuously assess the threat environment and keep our communities safe.”

Border Patrol Chief Ortiz Tests Positive for COVID-19

Deputy Chief of Border Patrol Raul Ortiz.

By Steve Neavling

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said Wednesday that he tested positive for COVID-19. 

“Earlier today I was set to receive my Booster but was feeling symptomatic and took a #COVID test,” Ortiz said on Twitter. “I tested positive and am self-isolating, hopeful to feel better. My symptoms may have been worse had I not been vaccinated.”

Ortiz encouraged others to get vaccinated. 

“I urge everyone to follow the guidance from health professionals and get vaccinate(d). I am one of hundreds of #USBP personnel in quarantine. Our frontline agents have battled this virus from the onset and I commend them. We will continue to be #vigilant as we protect our nation.”

In October, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for COVID-19. 

TSA Employees Hit Hardest by COVID-19, with More Than 12,500 Workers Infected

By Steve Neavling

More than 12,500 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. 

Of those, 33 have died, according to TSA data.

No federal agency has been harder hit by the virus than the TSA. 

Most of the infected employees are screening officers, who have frequent contact with travelers. 

Miami International led the nation in COVID-19 infections, with 658 employees testing positive. John F. Kennedy International in New York followed with 546, and Los Angeles International Airport had  452.

Other airpots with at least 200 infected TSA employees:  

Newark Liberty International 455

Chicago O’Hare International 444

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International 418

Orlando International 404 

Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport 391

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International 374

George Bush Intercontinental in Houston 316

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas 276

Phoenix Sky Harbor International 273

Logan International in Boston 259

Philadelphia International 217

LaGuardia in New York 214

Denver International 206