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Tag: health

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.”

10,000+ TSA Employees Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

By Steve Neavling

More than 10,000 TSA workers have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. 

The agency also reported 26 deaths related to the coronavirus since March 2020. 

Of the 10,177 TSA employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, a vast majority are screening officers. 

Miami International led the nation in COVID-19 infections, with 506 employees testing positive. Miami International had 506 infections, Los International Airport had 452, and John F. Kennedy International in New York had 438. 

Others were more than 100 infections are:

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International 370

Orland International 356

Newark Liberty International 355

Chicago O’Hare International 341

Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport 331

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International 279

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas 257

George Bush Intercontinental in Houston 238

Phoenix Sky Harbor International 219

Logan International in Boston 190

Philadelphia International 181

LaGuardia in New York 169

Denver International 152

Seattle/Tacoma International 136

San Diego International 115

Charlotte Douglas International 117

Tampa International 111

Minneapolis-St. Paul International 110

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport 109

Salt Lake City International 101

To see the entire list of airports and infections, click here.

More Than 1,000 TSA Employees Infected with Coronavirus

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 1,000 TSA employees have tested for the coronavirus, and six have died, the agency revealed Thursday.

No federal agency has been hit harder by COVID-19 than the TSA, whose employee have close contact with the public.

The TSA will now require its employees to wear face shields while screening passengers. TSA employees also mush change their gloves after every interaction with the public.

The TSA has come under fire for failing to adequately protect its employees.

“Right now they’re bringing people back to work and the social distance is not in total effect,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the union that represents the officers, told The Washington Post. “Employees are still complaining there’s too many of them in one area.”

TSA employees have been infected at more than 125 airports.

Homeland Security: China Downplayed Severity of Coronavirus While Hoarding Medical Supplies

SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of the coronavirus, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Chinese government likely “concealed the severity” of the coronavirus outbreak in early January so it could hoard medical supplies needed to fight the contagion, according to an intelligence report from Homeland Security.

Meanwhile, China dramatically increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies before the World Health Organization knew how serious the disease was, according to the four-page report obtained by the Associated Press

“We further assess the Chinese Government attempted to hide its actions by denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the report states.

China first alerted WHO about an unknown, pneumonia-like disease on Dec. 31, 2019, and continued to provide some updates about the mysterious outbreak throughout January 2020.

The Trump administration recently ramped up rhetoric about China not being forthcoming about the severity of the virus.

Barr: DOJ May Intervene in States’ Stay-at-Home Orders Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Most epidemiologists and public health experts agree that reopening states’ economies too quickly could cause a significant surge in COVID-19 infections.

But Attorney General William Barr warned Tuesday that the Justice Department may intervene in some states’ restrictions, saying they are placing “unprecedented burdens on civil liberties right now.”

“You know, the idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,” Barr said during an interview on The Hugh Hewitt Show. “I’m not saying it wasn’t justified. I’m not saying in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood.”

Barr said the restrictions may go too far by interfering with interstate commerce.

The debate has pitted President Trump against most governors, who want to continue enforcing the orders until there’s a significant decline in coronavirus cases and an adequate supply of testing kits. The coronavirus has swept across the U.S., killing more than 45,000 people.

3 TSA Employees Die from Coronavirus, More than 400 Tested Positive

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A TSA screener at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the third employee from the agency to die from the coronavirus.

Dian Phipps was a security screener, and he had worked for the TSA for 14 years.

More than 400 TSA employees, including screeners and nonscreeners, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the agency. So far, 45 of them have recovered.

The screeners worked at more than two dozens airports across the country. At John F. Kennedy International, where 162 TSA employees have tested positive, has been hit the hardest. At Newark Liberty International, 80 TSA workers have confirmed infections. Nearly 50 TSA workers from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International have tested positive.

TSA workers, especially screeners, are especially vulnerable because they have a lot of contact with the public.

More than 325 TSA Employees Tested Positive for Coronavirus, 2 Died

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The coronavirus has hammered TSA workers more than previously thought.

A total of 329 TSA employees have confirmed infections and two died, according to ABC News, citing an internal briefing led by TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

In the past week, 162 TSA workers tested positive for COVID-19.

The first TSA employee to die was Francis “Frank” Boccabella III, 39, who served as an explosive detection canine handler at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey.

“Frank was dedicated to protecting the traveling public with his canine partner, Bullet, a 6-year-old German Short-haired Pointer and his previous canine partner, Zmay,” the TSA said in a statement. “Frank and his canine partners screened hundreds of thousands of passengers, keeping them and the transportation network safe.”

The second TSA employee to die was Alberto Camacho, a branch manager in the Acquisition Program Management office.

“For over 20 years Alberto dedicated his career to both transportation and aviation security, and his contributions to TSA and our mission will not be forgotten,” the agency said in a statement.

“We mourn their loss but we celebrate what they have been able to contribute over the course of their time in TSA,” Pekoske said in the briefing.

TSA employees, especially screeners, are especially vulnerable because they come in close contact with many travelers.

30+ ICE Detainees Have Tested Positive for Coronavirus; 11 Staffers Also Infected.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 30 ICE detainees have tested positive for the coronavirus, and immigration advocates are worried it’s going to get a lot worse.

Detainees with confirmed infections “have been quarantined and are receiving care,” ICE said in a statement to The Washington Post, and people exposed to them “are being monitored for symptoms.”

Civil rights group and immigration advocates are urging ICE to release the detainees before the spread gets worse. Without the ability to socially distance, detainees are especially at risk, they say.

Eleven staffers at detention facilities also have tested positive in Colorado, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas.