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US Ends Federal Mask Mandate; Biden Unlikely to Appeal | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

US ends federal mask mandate; COVID protection is personal responsibility

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses the end of federal mask mandates:

What are the implications of the end of the federal mask mandate?

A federal judge in Florida this week ruled that President Biden's order requiring masks, facial coverings on federally regulated forms of transportation, including planes, buses, and trains is unlawful and should not be enforced. The mask mandate was the most visible and impactful mandate handed down by President Biden, who campaigned in 2020 on doing more than his predecessor, Donald Trump to stop the spread of the virus, but was really limited by the limited authorities the federal government has to take drastic measures to control public safety, most of which are controlled by the states. This is the latest setback to Biden's pandemic policies. Earlier this year, a federal judge said that he did not have the ability to impose a vaccine mandate for large employers. And at this point, Biden lacks both the policy tools and the political standing to do much else.

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COVID's Lessons About Humanity | Annabelle Santos, Small Business Owner

COVID's lessons on humanity for Annabelle Santos, small business owner

Inspiration struck Annabelle Santos when she struggled to find any products that could help soothe her baby girl’s eczema. Having grown up around plants and flowers, and with a background in biochemistry, Santos set out to make her own formula to help her daughter. Now she brings her mixtures of fruits, olive oils, and herbs to customers through her company, Spadét, which she founded in 2014. For years, she worked on her products from her home kitchen in New York City. Then, just before the pandemic hit, she got her big break: product placement in the whole northeast region of Whole Foods. In fact, her products shipped out to the stores just a week before lockdown. The pandemic was really tough on her business, but grants helped her keep afloat, and she’s looking forward to meeting with and healing customers now that restrictions have lifted.

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Biden Administration's COVID Response Likely to Impact Midterms | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Biden administration's COVID response likely to impact midterms

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses the Biden administration's response to the omicron variant:

How is the Biden administration's response to omicron?

Well, it hasn't been great. It started with the travel ban from affected countries that was already probably behind the curve given how widespread the variant was and the administration admitted they did not see this new variant coming. They were caught flat-footed on the surge in demand for testing over the holidays. And while they first promised to make tests reimbursable by insurance, which is, of course, a real pleasure for Americans who love to deal with their insurance companies, they then said they were going to make 500 million tests available for free, but this isn't even enough to have two tests for every American. And news came out that they were instead of investing in increased manufacturing capacity, what they were doing was going to purchase surplus tests, which could exacerbate private sector shortages. But probably, more importantly, it means that the new free tests were going to arrive probably after the current surge in cases is over.

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Were the Aussies right to ban Djokovic?

You’ve probably read this week that Novak Djokovic, the world’s number-one ranked tennis player, was caught in an awkward standoff with Australian border police.

A quick catch up: Upon arriving in Melbourne for the Australian Open, one of the world’s four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the unvaccinated Serbian tennis star was denied entry by federal authorities who said he did not meet the criteria for a vaccine exemption and so does not satisfy entry requirements.

Djokovic explained that he was previously granted a vaccine exemption by Tennis Australia and the Victorian state government. The feds were unmoved.

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Biggest US Politics Moments of 2021 | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Top five US political moments of 2021

Well, I can think of five. The first and most important was probably January 6th. Historically important moment, rioters breached the Capitol building in order to stop the legal counting of the presidential election results, but also, it was an important moment because it created a dividing line for Republicans who had to decide if they were with President Trump, who had a role in instigating the riot, or if they were against him. A lot of Republicans ended up choosing to be with him creating various forms of apologies for the rioters over time, and even to some degree making martyrs out of some of them. This will be a really important defining moment, not just in American history, but also for the Republican party.

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India’s COVID Crisis Hits Home | Journalist Barkha Dutt | GZERO World

India’s COVID crisis hits home

Delhi-based reporter Barkha Dutt's decades of journalism couldn't prepare her for the horrific experience of covering the death of one specific COVID-19 victim: her own father. In a conversation with Ian Bremmer, Dutt recounts her desperate struggle to find an ambulance to take her father through Delhi traffic to reach the hospital, only for him to die in the ICU. Their in-depth discussion looks at India's struggle with the world's worst COVID crisis in the upcoming episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television Friday, May 7. Check local listings.

What We're Watching: Tanzania's new leader, big global economic  recovery (for some), more bloodshed in Darfur

Tanzania's U-turn on COVID, press freedom: Tanzania's new President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced on Tuesday that she'll appoint a committee to determine whether the country should start responding to the pandemic, though she stopped short of implementing any sweeping changes. While it's late in the game more than a year since the pandemic was declared, it's still a big deal considering that her late predecessor John Magufuli, who she served under as deputy for six years, was a COVID denier who shunned masks and vaccines, refused to implement pandemic-related restrictions, and declared Tanzania virus-free thanks to prayers from its citizens. (Magufuli died last month, officially from heart complications but it's widely suspected he contracted COVID-19). Hassan, who has been criticized for embracing her former boss' authoritarian tendencies at times, also plans to lift Magufuli's bans on critical media outlets, another major shift for a nation where journalists are often prosecuted over social media posts critical of the government, and citizens are regularly denied access to independent sources of information. We're watching to see if Hassan delivers on her promise of change for Tanzania.

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How well is the vaccine drive really going?

The most ambitious global vaccination drive in history is in motion. Over the past three months, more than 213 million COVID-19 shots have been administered across 95 countries, and the vaccination rate is slowly increasing. At the current rate, around 6.11 million doses are being administered daily.

It's a rare bit of hopeful news after 15 months of collective misery. So where do things stand at the moment, and what's keeping the world from getting to herd immunity faster?

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