WH ‘Flagging’ Posts for Facebook to Censor Over COVID ‘Misinformation’+ More

White House ‘Flagging’ Posts for Facebook to Censor Over COVID ‘Misinformation’

New York Post reported:

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday the Biden administration is identifying “problematic” posts for Facebook to censor because they contain “misinformation” about COVID-19.

Psaki disclosed the government’s role in policing social media during her daily press briefing after Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on companies to purge more pandemic posts.

U.S. Surgeon General, Rockefeller Foundation Announce Big Initiatives to Address ‘Urgent Threat’ of Vaccine Misinformation

The Defender reported:

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy on Thursday issued an advisory warning the American public about the “urgent threat” of health misinformation and disinformation that have “threatened the U.S. response to COVID-19 and continue to prevent Americans from getting vaccinated, prolonging the pandemic and putting lives at risk.”

The 22-page advisory calls on Big Tech and social media companies to take more responsibility to stop the online spread of health misinformation.

The advisory blamed “misinformation” for causing people to decline COVID vaccines, reject public health measures such as masking and physical distancing and using unproven treatments.

Hundreds Against Vaccine Mandates Tell Hospitals ‘Shame on You’

Boise State Public Radio reported:

A few hundred community members, including some nurses and doctors, rallied at the Idaho Capitol Thursday morning to oppose local hospitals forcing their workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke’s health systems said last week all of their Idaho employees needed to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, or they could be fired. Religious and health exemptions would be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Several at the rally held signs in the hot sun Thursday saying, “We are nurses, not lab mice,” and “What if I have natural immunity?”

UC Mandates COVID Vaccinations and Will Bar Most Students Without Them From Campus

Los Angeles Times reported:

The University of California announced Thursday that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required before the fall term begins for all students, faculty and others, becoming the nation’s largest public university system to mandate the vaccines even though they don’t have full federal approval.

As the highly contagious Delta variant spreads amid lower vaccination rates among younger people, unvaccinated students without approved exemptions will be barred from in-person classes, events and campus facilities, including housing — and not all classes will be offered online, a UC memo outlining the mandate said. Physical distancing and mask wearing are expected to continue.

Republican Lawmakers Push to Cast Vaccine Refusal as a Civil Rights Issue

The Guardian reported:

State Republican lawmakers across the United States are pushing forward bills that prohibit vaccine mandates in an attempt to give the refusal to have a COVID-19 vaccine the same sort of legal protections as those often surrounding issues of gender, religion and race.

Many Republican states are introducing bills that outlaw vaccine mandates within state offices, schools and workplaces, even though vaccine mandates are not commonplace among employers. They also come as the vaccine rollout in the U.S. has slowed markedly, even though the more contagious Delta variant is spreading rapidly, especially among unvaccinated people.

Newsom Faces Backlash Over Masks in California Schools

Politico reported:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing sudden backlash over his student mask rules, the latest sign that the recall-threatened leader must tread lightly as schools prepare to open next month.

Students will return to classrooms just as recall ballots land in mailboxes across the state, and Newsom has to strike the right tone with parents and voters after a tumultuous stretch marked by some of the nation’s longest school closures. The governor has built momentum this summer, making his ouster a long shot, but schools remain a sensitive political topic in California.

Unvaccinated Michigan Hospital Workers Expected to Protest Mandates for COVID Vaccine

ABC Detroit reported:

Over the next two weekends, some Michigan workers in the health care industry are expected to protest mandates by the health systems they work for to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

While public health and medical experts have repeatedly said that COVID-19 vaccines protect against infection and help save lives, some are still saying no to the shots.

Vaccine Passport: The Government Can’t Share Your Data, but Airlines Can

Newsweek reported:

As the United States nears the 50% mark for fully vaccinated individuals and many Americans are eager to travel again, vaccine documentation has emerged as a hot topic in the polarized political forum.

Blue states like California, New York, and Hawaii have launched or are working to launch vaccine passports of their own, while red states like Florida, Utah, and Texas have passed laws banning the requirement of such verification systems.

While these passports continue to garner visceral political reactions, differing from state to state, public companies and nongovernmental organizations have quietly rolled out passports of their own. American Airlines, United, and The Commons Project Foundation, a digital health non-profit, have all created their own passports.

Amid Mounting Frustration, Biden Suggests Decision on EU Travel Coming Within Days

USA Today reported:

President Joe Biden said Thursday his COVID response team is reviewing U.S. travel restrictions that bar visitors from the European Union and could announce changes in the coming days.

Biden’s remarks come amid mounting frustration in European capitals about the ongoing U.S. travel ban, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Biden on the issue in a private meeting in the Oval Office on Thursday.

“It’s in process now,” Biden said. ” And I’ll be able to answer that question … within the next several days.” He said he is waiting to hear the White House’s COVID advisers “as to when that (lifting the travel ban) should be done.”

Canada Likely to Reopen Border to Vaccinated Americans in August

CBS News reported:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday Canada could start allowing Americans fully vaccinated against the coronavirus into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel. He said the country should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September.

Trudeau spoke with leaders of Canada’s provinces and his office released a readout of the call. He noted that if Canada’s current positive path of vaccination rate and public health conditions continue the border can open.

“Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September,” the readout said. “He noted the ongoing discussions with the United States on reopening plans and indicated that we could expect to start allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel.”

As Spain’s Beaches Fill Up, a Seaside Resort Sends in the Drones

Reuters reported:

With a summer heatwave sending hordes of people to the beach, authorities in the northeastern Spanish seaside town of Sitges are trialling the use of drones to monitor crowds in real-time and counter a rapid rise in COVID-19 contagion.

“It’s a pioneering system,” said Ricardo Monje, a drone operator with the project’s developer Annunzia ES. “We can take photos, pass them through some software and with the software we can count how many people are on the beach.”

Over the past week, dozens of county-level governments in at least eight provinces have published notices warning citizens they have until late July or early August to receive their vaccinations, after which they will face a variety of restrictions on everyday life.

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