President Joe Biden speaks about Coronavirus vaccine mandates in the workplace, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, October 7, 2021 (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)
President Joe Biden appeals to private companies to introduce vaccine mandates, as part of the effort to contain the Delta variant of Coronavirus.
Speaking at a construction site outside Chicago, Biden asked for the initiative to complement his order last month for mandates covering 80 million workers.
The order mandates that all private companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing. However, a rule by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for enforcement needs at least three or four weeks for drafting and implementation.
Biden explained that programs encouraging vaccinations had been effective, but had not gone far enough as Coronavirus surged in the US this summer.
“Even after all of these efforts, we still have more than a quarter of the people in the United States who are eligible for vaccinations but didn’t get the shot,” Biden said. “That’s why I’ve had to move toward requirements.”
He emphasized, “Businesses have more power than ever before to change the arc of this pandemic and save lives.”
The 7-day average for daily deaths has eased since topping 2,000 last month, but was still at 1,765 on Thursday. The average for daily cases is 99,602, down about 1/3 since September 16.
The US toll for the pandemic is 710,718 deaths and 44,158,955 cases.
Biden said of the significant minority of Americans who are refusing vaccinations “put our economy at risk, because people are reluctant to go out”. He continued:
The unvaccinated overcrowd our hospitals, overriding emergency rooms and intensive care units. The unvaccinated patients are leaving no room for someone with a heart attack or a need of a cancer operation and so much more because they can’t get in the ICU, they can’t get into the operating room.
He appealed, “For folks who haven’t gotten vaccinated, get it done. Do the right thing. It can save your life. It can save lives of those around you,” he said. “We can end this thing. It’s easy. It’s accessible, and it’s free to get the vaccine.”