A brand new Lengthy Island congressman is boycotting a Tuesday evening reception with President Biden to protest the White Home’s persistent COVID-19 protocols.
Republican Rep. Nick LaLota stated proof of vaccination, necessities to be examined for COVID 24 hours earlier than visiting the White Home or being topic to masking and social distancing are “extreme and pointless.”
“In protest, I can’t be attending President Biden’s Freshman Home Reunion on the White Home this week. Though the president informed ’60 Minutes’ 4 months in the past that the pandemic was over, the White Home is at the moment imposing arbitrary, outdated and unscientific pandemic protocols on members of Congress who accepted the president’s invitation to satisfy with him within the White Home,” LaLota stated. she stated in an announcement.
“The President’s necessities embrace that members be examined for COVID 24 hours earlier than visiting the White Home, together with every member offering proof of getting been vaccinated or topic to necessary masking and social distancing.”
LaLota, a retired naval officer who succeeded former Rep. Lee Zeldin within the 1st Congressional District that covers Suffolk County, stated “arbitrary and unscientific” pandemic protocols ought to be “far behind us.”
“I’m forgoing a historic journey to the White Home to boost consciousness of this punitive coverage within the hope that President Biden will reverse it and different arbitrary, outdated and unscientific restrictions throughout the federal system,” he stated.
Biden is internet hosting the reception for the brand new members of Congress within the East Room.
It is unclear if different new members of Congress are boycotting Biden’s reception over COVID protocols.
However Upstate Rep. Elise Stefanik, chair of the Republican Convention, applauded LaLota’s resolution.
“For too lengthy, the Biden Administration has labored to impose its COVID-19 vaccination mandates on People and lengthen its authoritarian protocols. It is about time they acknowledge the pandemic is over and finish these White Home necessities, as an alternative of continuous the advantage sign to enchantment to the far left,” Stefanik informed The Submit.
On “60 Minutes” in September, Biden stated: “The pandemic is over.”
“We nonetheless have an issue with COVID. We’re nonetheless working exhausting on it. However the pandemic is over.”
The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention final August reversed suggestions for social distancing and quarantine after publicity to COVID-19.
In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams have eliminated masks necessities and a few testing necessities. However workers at medical amenities, comparable to nursing properties and hospitals, and a few metropolis company staff are nonetheless required to get vaccinated.
The worst of the COVID outbreak that has ravaged New York and the remainder of the nation since 2020 is over, public well being specialists say. The pandemic has largely been introduced below management due to public well being measures together with vaccinations, higher medical therapies and antiviral medication, safer sanitary practices, and pure immunity for beforehand contaminated individuals.
However the newer Kraken Omicron pressure of COVID-19 is extremely contagious, and many individuals beforehand contaminated with the virus have been reinfected. COVID-related deaths in New York, for instance, have been up 30 % final month in comparison with November.
The White Home had no fast touch upon the LaLota snub.
The White Home’s coronavirus protocols have been altering because the pandemic has subsided.
Journalists attending briefings and large occasions with Biden are speculated to have submitted a vaccine certification type, however there’s little effort to make sure they really achieve this and, in apply, it is an often-passed honor system. missed and other people can attend occasions with out the presentation.
On the whole, among the many press corps, solely reporters within the every day pool need to be examined for the virus with a fast check at a CVS-contracted website in Lafayette Sq. close to the White Home, which means journalists Those that do not get examined can come into contact with Biden and even ask him questions with out their viral standing being identified.
On presidential journeys and typically in time delicate conditions, reporters can self-test and electronic mail a photograph of the damaging fast check outcomes.
The system is stricter in some conditions, such because the greater than a dozen White Home Christmas events in December the place visitors posed for photographs with Biden, who at 80 is at higher danger of publicity. For these celebrations, the White Home arrange a big fast testing middle in a close-by workplace constructing.
The Biden administration imposed the vaccine certification coverage on individuals who entered the White Home grounds on August 8, 2021, earlier than essentially the most communicable variants of the virus eluded the most typical vaccines.