San Francisco (CNN Business) — Now that coronavirus vaccines are starting to roll out in the US and abroad, many people may be dreaming of the day when they can travel, shop and go to the movies again. But in order to do those activities, you may eventually need something in addition to the vaccine: a vaccine passport application.
Several companies and technology groups have begun developing smartphone apps or systems for individuals to upload details of their Covid-19 tests and vaccinations, creating digital credentials that could be shown in order to enter concert venues, stadiums, movie theaters, offices, or even countries.
The Common Trust Network, an initiative by Geneva-based nonprofit The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum, has partnered with several airlines including Cathay Pacific, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, as well as hundreds of health systems across the United States and the government of Aruba.
The CommonPass app created by the group allows users to upload medical data such as a Covid-19 test result or, eventually, a proof of vaccination by a hospital or medical professional, generating a health certificate or pass in the form of a QR code that can be shown to authorities without revealing sensitive information. For travel, the app lists health pass requirements at the points of departure and arrival based on your itinerary.
So, it’s almost 2021, and to say the least 2020 was a crazy year.
I think it’s safe to say that we have all learned just how dangerous human liberty and freedom can be.
Liberty seemed so good before. It resulted in human movement, collaboration, and the coming together of the people. This used to be a beautiful and quintessential part of the human experience.
Thankfully however, our trusted scientific institutions have shed light on the real dangers this poses to our safety.
If people are together, moving about as they wish, and congregating as they please — then so are harmful viruses and invisible air-contagions.
This is a serious global problem that warrants a high level of chronic fear. But it is a problem that science was equipped to come together and solve!
We learned through careful research and study that if we stayed far away from each other, at least 6 feet at all times, that these viruses and invisible air-enemies couldn’t harm us.
Additionally, we learned that by covering your mouth and nose with a face mask you could protect yourself even further from the contaminated outside world.
This was our great awakening.
Because with this knowledge, the solution to our great invisible enemy was now apparent.
We needed to shut down the entire society and all it’s systems in order to reset it. The world which would emerge from this great reset would be a new, safer, and more separate world.
One in which the dangerous elements of our human existence are contained and managed on our behalf, protecting us from our own worst unforeseen potentialities.
Liberty in that way was a lesson we all learned together. It’s a great idea. A great IDEAL.
But much like other utopian socialistic visions of the way society could be, it looks good on paper, but doesn’t work in the real world.
Liberty simply isn’t safe.
Which brings us to Freedom.
Freedom of speech? Freedom to assemble and freedom of the press?
We learned that these are fundamentally outdated ideas which were written under candlelight with feathered pens by old white men who proclaimed that “All men are created equal,” while themselves owning slaves and owning a sense superiority to women.
This freedom that these hypocritical men proposed, is as one would imagine also unsuitable for the modern age.
For in our modern age, culturally speaking “God is dead,” as Frederick Nietzsche proclaimed.
Christianity itself was a snake that bit its own tale.
Religion generated science, but scientific revelation eventually bit into the core ideas of Christianity itself and metaphysics soon followed.
By destroying religion and metaphysics, science eliminated truth — which itself Nietzsche believed to be a metaphysical concept.
Paradoxically in doing this, science also began to undermine itself.
Because if science destroys metaphysics and therefore truth itself, then what real knowledge or truth is there left for science to ascertain?
There is none.
Truth in that sense is strictly subjective for each and every individual person.
Could you imagine if what each person felt to be true was allowed to actualize itself in reality?
Chaos would emerge.
It is thereby the role of our scientific and educational elite and the media which govern our institutions to define and mold or form the concept of what truth is in the minds of modern man.
Conflicting narratives of truth, too much truth, the wrong kinds of truth, any truth not constructed, managed, and presented by this elite and trusted body of individuals is itself dangerous.
We have already established that the liberty of human movement, collaboration, and the coming together of the people was an unsafe idea.
But also, we have learned that the the freedom of human thought, collaboration, and the coming together of the ideas is dangerous.
The effect of misinformation on our entrusted elites ability to protect our modeled and established concepts of truth is potent.
Misinformation must be quarantined, just as someone who has been exposed to an an air-contagion would be physically quarantined. When you stop the spread of an idea in that way, you eliminate the destructive domino effect it would have had.
By limiting someone’s exposure to these ‘thought-contagions’ —We free them to be more thoroughly absorbed in the messaging of our constructed system. Which is so elegantly designed to target and subvert the very drives that may lead someone down the rabbit hole of misinformation to begin with.
Eventually of course, it would make to incentivize proper behavior in society. Proper engagement in thought. This again being for our own good.
This we have all learned, and this we have all accepted in 2020.
So — For your own good in 2021:
Do you want to enter a movie theatre?
Maybe go back to the office at work?
Even go to a sporting event or board an airplane again?
Just provide proof that you are a safe, and sanitized individual in order to come in. Safe in the physical sense of your mRNA modifications with your QR verification barcode…
But also safe in the sense of your thought/behavior-contagions. Why would one who inhibits others comfortable engagement in our construction of a new a safe world, be allowed to engage in that new world at all?
It’s not unreasonable…
It’s the New Normal…
Flashback May 2020 CNN: Coronavirus ‘immunity passports’ are a terrible idea that could backfire, experts warn…
OSHA suspends enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is suspending enforcement of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large private businesses after a federal appeals court upheld a stay on it last week.
OSHA said in a statement published on its website Friday night that while it is confident in its power to protect workers amid the pandemic, it is suspending activities related to the mandate, citing the pending litigation.
“The court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the ETS [Emergency Temporary Standard] ‘until further court order.’ While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation,” OSHA said.
President Biden announced in September that the administration was rolling out a new rule that would require all private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing for all personnel, a guideline that has the potential to impact nearly 80 million workers.
Earlier this month the administration set Jan. 4 as the deadline for qualifying private employers to start mandating the vaccine or requiring weekly testing. The rule was developed by OSHA.
In a 22-page ruling last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that the administration’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate was “fatally flawed” and ordered that OSHA not enforce the requirement “pending adequate judicial review” of a motion for a permanent injunction.
The court said OSHA should “take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order.”
The case originated when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), along with the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah and South Carolina, filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over the vaccine mandate in October, requesting a preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to stop the mandate from being enforced. The lawsuit also asked that the mandate be declared unlawful.
Earlier this month, the federal appeals court ordered a temporary halt on the mandate, but the Department of Justice then requested that the halt be lifted, contending that the administration has the legal authority to require COVID-19 vaccines or testing for larger companies and that the states that are challenging the mandate have not shown that their claims outweigh the harm of stopping of rule.
The court, however, upheld the stay, which prompted OSHA’s announcement that it is suspending enforcement of the rule.
More than two dozen state attorneys general and other groups are also challenging the mandate in court.
Despite the court’s ruling, however, the White House urged businesses to continue implementing the guidance for COVID-19 vaccines and testing.
Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna making $1,000 profit every second
Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are making combined profits of $65,000 every minute from their highly successful COVID-19 vaccines while the world’s poorest countries remain largely unvaccinated, according to a new analysis.
The companies have sold the vast majority of their doses to rich countries, leaving low-income nations in the lurch, said the People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA), a coalition campaigning for wider access to COVID vaccines, which based its calculations on the firms’ own earning reports.
The Alliance estimates that the trio will make pre-tax profits of $34 billion this year between them, which works out to over $1,000 a second, $65,000 a minute or $93.5 million a day.
“It is obscene that just a few companies are making millions of dollars in profit every single hour, while just two percent of people in low-income countries have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus,” Maaza Seyoum of the African Alliance and People’s Vaccine Alliance Africa said.
“Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna have used their monopolies to prioritise the most profitable contracts with the richest governments, leaving low-income countries out in the cold.”
Pfizer and BioNTech have delivered less than one percent of their total supplies to low-income countries while Moderna has delivered just 0.2 percent, the PVA said.
Currently, 98 percent of people in low-income countries have not been fully vaccinated.
The three companies’ actions are in contrast to AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, which provided their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis, though both have announced they foresee ending this arrangement in future as the pandemic winds down.
PVA said that despite receiving public funding of more than $8 billion, Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna have refused calls to transfer vaccine technology to producers in low- and middle-income countries via the World Health Organization, “a move that could increase global supply, drive down prices and save millions of lives.”
“In Moderna’s case, this is despite explicit pressure from the White House and requests from the WHO that the company collaborate in and help accelerate its plan to replicate the Moderna vaccine for wider production at its mRNA hub in South Africa,” the group said.
Informers key in enforcing Biden vaccine mandate
To enforce President Joe Biden’s forthcoming COVID-19 mandate, the U.S. Labor Department is going to need a lot of help. Its Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t have nearly enough workplace safety inspectors to do the job.
So the government will rely upon a corps of informers to identify violations of the order: Employees who will presumably be concerned enough to turn in their own employers if their co-workers go unvaccinated or fail to undergo weekly tests to show they’re virus-free.
What’s not known is just how many employees will be willing to accept some risk to themselves – or their job security – for blowing the whistle on their own employers. Without them, though, experts say the government would find it harder to achieve its goal of requiring tens of millions of workers at companies with 100 or more employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or be tested weekly and wear a mask on the job.
“There is no army of OSHA inspectors that is going to be knocking on employers door or even calling them,” said Debbie Berkowitz, a former OSHA chief of staff who is a fellow at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. “They’re going to rely on workers and their union representatives to file complaints where the company is totally flouting the law.’’
Jim Frederick, the acting chief of OSHA, told reporters that this agency will focus on job sites “where workers need assistance to have a safe and healthy workplace.”
“That typically comes through in the form of a complaint,” Frederick added.
Critics warn that whistleblowers have often faced retaliation from their employers and that OSHA has offered little protection when they do.
The new mandate, which Biden announced last week, is the administration’s most far-reaching step yet to prod more Americans to get a vaccine that has been widely available since early spring. The mandate will cover an estimated 84 million employees.
The president called the move necessary to combat an outbreak that has killed 750,000 Americans and that continues to spread. Companies that fail to comply will face fines of nearly $14,000 per “serious’’ violation. Employers found to be “willful’’ or repeat violators would be subject to fines of up to ten times that amount.
The mandate has run into furious opposition, though, from leaders of mainly Republican-led states who have condemned the plan as an unlawful case of federal overreach and who immediately challenged the vaccine-or-test requirements in court. On Saturday, the Biden administration endured a setback when a federal appeals court in New Orleans temporarily halted the mandate, saying it posed “grave statutory and constitutional issues.”
Should the mandate survive its legal challenges, though, the task of enforcing it would fall on OSHA, the small Labor Department agency that was established 50 years ago to police workplace safety and protect workers from such dangers as toxic chemicals, rickety ladders and cave-ins at construction sites.
OSHA has jurisdiction in 29 states. Other states, including California and Michigan, have their own federally approved workplace safety agencies. These states will have an additional month – until early February – to adopt their own version of the COVID mandate, equal to or tougher than OSHA’s.
For a task as enormous as enforcing the new vaccine mandate, OSHA and its state “partners’’ are stretched thin. Just 1,850 inspectors will oversee 130 million workers at 8 million job sites. So the agencies must rely on whistleblowers.
OSHA urges workers to first bring unsafe or unhealthy working conditions to the attention of their employers “if possible.’’ Employees could also file a confidential safety complaint with OSHA or have a case filed by a representative, such as a lawyer, a union representative or a member of the clergy. But they have no right to sue their employer in court for federal safety violations.