New Sparks: US Not Headed Toward Lockdown, President Biden Orders 50 Million Barrels of US Oil; Air Travel Vax Mandates, Not Necessary
By Yehudit Garmaise
U.S. Not Heading toward COVID Lockdown, White House says, while Europe is in Disarray
The unpredictable COVID virus is inexplicably starting to rise again, however the U.S. will not need to impose lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19, said White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients, who added that now the country has “other tools” to stop another winter surge.
Now, “to accelerate the path out of this pandemic,” Zients said, “we have widely available vaccinations, booster shots, kids shots, and therapeutics," Zients told reporters at a White House briefing. "We can curb the spread of the virus without having to in any way shut down our economy."
Due to low vaccination rates, Europe, however, is once again the epicenter of the global pandemic, as Austria has reimposed a full lockdown, a partial lockdown in cities in the Netherlands riot have erupted in riots, and many other EU countries are imposing restrictions, as well.
To Lower Gas Prices, President Biden Orders 50 Million Barrels of Oil in US Reserve
To fight rising energy costs, President Joe Biden today ordered 50 million barrels of oil to be released from the US’s emergency stockpile of crude oil: called the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), to help bring down rising energy costs.
Gas prices, says the American Automobile Association, are 50% higher than they were a year ago.
The SPR, which is the world’s largest oil reserve, is comprised of 714 million barrels that have been stored in underground tanks in Louisiana and Texas and maintained by the US Department of Energy since 1975.
Many Democrats, such as Sen. Chuck Schumer, (NY), who encouraged Biden to dip into the SPR, are sure that the release of the barrels, which will not take place until late December, will drive down oil prices, however, Claudio Galimberti, senior vice president for oil markets at Rystad Energy, says that the measure is temporary and if demand continues to outstrip to supply, as it is certain to do as holiday travel increases, “then you’re back to Square One [with high prices].”
Transportation Sec: Vax Mandates on Domestic Flights Not Necessary
As New York City airports this week expect to see the most travelers they have seen in two years, dozens of US lawmakers have been pushing for vaccination requirements on domestic flights.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, however, on Sunday, said that vaccinating travel industry workers and mask requirements on planes are “highly effective,” therefore vaccination mandates for travelers are unlikely.
The Transportation Security Administration, which expects to screen approximately 20 million air travelers this weekend, has extended the federal mask mandate for planes, airports, trains, and other forms of mass transportation through Jan. 18, 2022.
“Between the masking and the other mitigations,” Buttigieg said, “we’re very confident in the safety of air travel and travel generally in this country.”
Photo by: Lensky Photo