President Joe Biden speaks from the East Room of the White House, on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

President Biden is poised to announce a new slate of measures to combat the Delta variant.
The Delta variant is highly contagious and now accounts for more than 90% of COVID cases in the US.
Federal employees and contractors will have to get vaccinated with no testing alternative.

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President Joe Biden is poised to announce a series of new initiatives to combat COVID-19, including a new stricter vaccination requirement for federal employees, in a Thursday speech at the White House.

Biden is expected to sign an executive order mandating federal employees and contractors of federal agencies get vaccinated without being able to opt out and get regular testing instead, The New York Times and CNN reported.

The new mandate, which follows the US military also requiring service members to get vaccinated against COVID-19, is more stringent than a requirement Biden announced in June for federal workers to either get vaccinated or submit to testing and masking rules.

Vaccine mandates for public-sector employees, like law enforcement and teachers, have been the subject of tension and political back-and-forth in states and localities around the United States as many local leaders have moved to require vaccination for public-facing essential and healthcare workers. Biden is also expected to mandate vaccinations at all health care systems that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding.

Biden is also expected to urge school districts to expand testing to all students and staff as the Delta variant throws an anxiety-riddled wrench in the start of the school year for millions of children, parents, and educators around the country. Throughout the spring and summer, local school districts have also been the sites of fierce debates over mask and vaccination requirements.

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The Department of Education recently announced it was opening civil rights investigations into five Republican-controlled states whose governors have moved to ban local school districts from imposing mask mandates in school.

Vaccines work against the Delta variant

The Biden administration is facing increased pressure to tackle the ultra-contagious Delta variant, which has especially devastated regions of the country with low vaccination rates and stymied the administration’s efforts to turn the corner on the virus.

Delta now accounts for more than 90% of cases in the US, according to the CDC. The country is currently seeing over 150,000 daily COVID-19 cases, 100,000 hospitalizations, and around 1,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to The Times’ database.

The only way out of the current surge is vaccination, Biden’s top COVID-19 advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told Axios. He said the infection rate in the US is 10 times too high to end the pandemic, and that rate will continue to soar until more people get vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccines are still doing what they are designed to do: prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death due to the coronavirus, even in the face of Delta.

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Source:: Business Insider

      

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