SocraticGadfly: Coronavirus week 78B: Odds and ends on vax mandates, firewalls

October 05, 2021

Coronavirus week 78B: Odds and ends on vax mandates, firewalls

Texas schools have already had more COVID cases this school year than all of the previous one. That was already the case late last month; the weekly case numbers are declining, but still higher than they were the last week in August and the first week in September.

The state has crossed the 50 percent mark on people fully vaccinated. My wingnut county is approaching the one-third mark. Hispanic vax rates are technically lower than for Whites, but it's only 1 percentage point, and most of the state's counties with the HIGHEST vax rates are in the Valley!

Havana Ted / Cancun Ted is now trying to own the libs by touting his love for antivax NBA players.


American, Alaska and Jet Blue have joined United in vaccine mandates among major and semi-major airlines. The NYT explains United's reasoning, noting that, as a major international carrier, with pilots and flight attendants, this moved beyond being a US issue. (It would also cover ground personnel outside the US, re international vaccine mandates.) Jet Blue and Alaska say it will be by Dec. 8, which is a Biden Administration deadline for federal contractors, and all the major airlines are just that. American has released no deadline, but obviously, it will be by then. Meanwhile, per the first link, Delta and Southwest are sitting on their asses. Delta is charging unvaccinated employees higher insurance premiums; Southworst, as far as I know, is doing nothing, even though their rash COVID-related flight cancellations one-two months ago nearly fucked up the end of my vacation. Also per that first link, Delta said it's "evaluating Biden's order." Southwest said the same, per NPR. In both cases, pilots unions are pushing back.

But, Southwest now says it too will meet the Dec. 8 deadline.

UPdate on that! On Sunday, Oct. 8, per Twitter, Southworst was having to scrub shitloads of flights the whole weekend. Official PR aside, word on the tarmac from some is a sickout by its pilots protesting the mandate. Southwest has a pilots union separate from most other major airlines, and it's been hardnosed in a variety of often good ways. That said, some Twitterati, especially as rumors of a sympathy strike by air traffic controllers bubbled up, said remember St. Ronald of Reagan and PATCO. That also said, SWAPA says its pilots are NOT doing an official OR unofficial sickout.

OTOH, remember that unions can spout PR bullshit just like corporations.

Per this story, the pilots are claiming that the National Railway Act, which governs union-management issues on airlines as well as railroads, requires negotiations. That cuts BOTH WAYS. Southwest's pilots have shown about zero interest in negotiating. See the NLRB's explainer, first bullet point.


Speaking of deltas, the delta variant has broken through New Zealand's firewall. No surprise, really. International supply chains are being affected in part by COVID surges in Vietnam, touted largely by reflexive anti-Americanists as a COVID miracle last fall and this spring.

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