Democrats introduce legislation that will mail N95 Masks to All Americans. With growing awareness that cloth and surgical masks just aren’t cutting it against COVID-19, people are increasingly advocating for everyone to swap these face coverings for more useful N95 masks—and it’s about time! While it may have seemed sensible to cover up as much as possible at one time, this hasn’t proven wise for quite some time (to echo an old COVID rallying cry). Following the science. Research on mask effectiveness now suggests that certain masks—especially the cloth ones many people have been donning—do little more than provide a false sense of security, especially in the face of more transmissible COVID-19 variants like omicron.
It is great to see that Democratic leaders have finally acknowledged that there are many ways that they can help. TypeMask matters are more important than simply telling people what to use for covering their faces. Like so many of the COVID-19 replies, this one has a Goldilocks-quality: It’s impossible to have too much. From mask agnosticism, they plan to send N95 masks every American, and order U.S. businesses to produce more masks.
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D–Ore.) they cosponsor the Masks for All Act. It was introduced first in 2020 and would require that all Americans receive three N95 Masks.
“This is a crisis and our response must meet the moment,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D–Calif.The bill was co-sponsored by more than 30 House members. We can send N95 masks every American to protect them from Omicron cases, if we are able to afford the $778 billion defense budget.
However, three masks will not last a person very long. This is especially true if the individual works in public places and/or has to be in high-risk areas. In the end, N95 masks won’t be much help if the person can’t afford to buy them.
Some people won’t wear masks, even though they are free. Others have enough N95 masks or can afford them. Is it a good idea to gift masks to such people?
The federal government’s mask provision plans are going to be cumbersome. Private actors and local governments could do a better job getting masks to people who really need them. If members of Congress insist on this, why not just focus on getting masks to people who really need them, and stop wasting masks on those who don’t want or can’t use them, while giving a limited amount of masks to those who do.
This is not only wasteful, but could also lead to mask supply shortages (something that the legislators would like to avoid by invoking Defense Production Act for companies to manufacture more masks).
Despite this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to make it difficult for Americans to update their masks. They are still unsure of what kind of masks they should use.
Rochelle Wilensky, Director at CDC said that the best mask is one that you actually wear.
So—despite knowing that cloth masks are weak in the best of circumstances and even more powerless than before against the omicron variant—public health officials continue to encourage what amounts to masking security theater. Cool cool cool.
In the meantime, Biden’s administration also looks into distribution plans for masks. Knowing its track record, it will probably just add masks to the ever-growing list of things that insurance companies must provide for “free”…
“Let us not create a civil conflict.” Plaids New York TimesRoss Douthat is a columnist. (Agree!) He notes that the evidence for such an alleged divide is extremely thin. For instance, many neo–civil war promoters have been citing a supposed plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is a good example of how open right-wing extremists can be to violence in pursuit of their goals. Like many foiled terrorist plots, it was orchestrated by the FBI to be egged on. This raises serious questions as to how likely any of these plotters were to take such extreme measures if encouraged by federal agents.
“Those doubts, in turn, might be reasonably extended to the entire theory of looming American civil war, which assumes something not yet entirely in evidence — a large number of Americans willing to put their lives, not just their Twitter rhetoric, on the line for the causes that currently divide our country,” writes Douthat, pointing out several biases in new civil war theories. This includes “a hyper-emphasis on the beliefs of Americans rather than (so far) what they actually believe.” Do“” and “the shifting of the goalposts when one questions the references to Fort Sumter, or 1930s Europe.”
Help ex-felons save lives. An appeal will be heard by a federal court in connection with a California ban that prevents people with felony convictions from becoming emergency-medical technicians. According to Reuters: The appeal has the backing of “groups from all ideological spectrums”.
Courthouse News Service reports, “A panel consisting of three Ninth Circuit judges appeared skeptical” that a California law prohibiting multiple felonies-convicted persons from being certified EMTs was unconstitutional.
Dario Gurrola was the one who brought this case. Dario fought wildfires in California while incarcerated. CNS reports that Gurrola was attracted by the discipline and physical gratifying work involved in firefighting and made a decision to release prison. He passed several EMT and firefighting courses including one national, but was not able to obtain a California certification due to his numerous felony convictions. Gurrola filed a lawsuit to declare the law unconstitutional, but his case was rejected by a lower court.”
I’ve been saying since the day after the election that Trump would come up with a bunch of uncomfortable loyalty tests if anyone looked too strong for 2024, but I admit I didn’t think “why won’t he endorse vaccines more” would be one of them https://t.co/hO0rZ2KItT
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) January 12, 2022
• Defense Distributed, creator of the first 3D-printed plastic gun, is making ghost gun software that can get around proposed gun control regulations. The Zero Percenter software, along with a few components, is Wilson’s solution to government “overreach” reports. Forbes.
• “Supreme Court justices have a history of making factual errors in written opinions for which they have ample time to research and fact-check,” notes Radley Balko at The Washington Post. Some of these mistakes have had profound consequences for constitutional rights. They have not been corrected by the court.”
• The Canadian province of Quebec plans to tax people who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. According to the BBC, Premier Francois Legault stated that anyone who has not had their first vaccine must pay a contribution. He said that although the fee is not set yet, it will be significant.
• More cryptocurrency regulation may be coming soon. CNBC interviewed Gary Gensler, Chair of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Squawk BoxMonday was Monday and the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that it is within the Securities Laws to tackle crypto. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said a new report on cryptocurrency will be released shortly and Rep. Tom Emmer (R–Minn.) Tweet this:
Soon, new legislation on digital currency?
— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) January 11, 2022