Here's the scoop on what's happening this week in Congress
House and Senate appropriators are making progress in reaching an agreement on a spending deal on the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY’22) appropriations bills. Several issues are still outstanding, including how to split the funding between defense and non-defense spending and policy riders such as the Hyde amendment. The current continuing resolution (CR) will expire on February 18, 2022, and it is expected that another short-term CR will be necessary in order to complete the work on the package.
Chair Murray and Ranking Member Burr of the Senate HELP Committee, released a discussion draft of the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act, a bipartisan bill focused on strengthening the nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response systems due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill focuses mostly on data collection including:
A recent study by the Annals of Family Medicine found that young people are largely unaware of the risk of contracting STIs, through oral sex. The study stated that research and education on oral sex are critical because it is a very common sexual practice. Many STIs are transmitted orally, including herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV, and human papillomavirus. The study can be found here
On January 25, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that the Biden administration has withdrawn its COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for private businesses with at least 100 workers, after the Supreme Court blocked the rule. “OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace,” the agency wrote. However, more than one-third of U.S. employers still plan to implement a vaccine mandate despite the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Only 40 percent of the U.S. population has received a booster shot, considerably lower than the 63 percent who received two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. Even as the Administration and health care experts continue to highlight the importance of booster doses as protection, the average number of boosters administered per day in the U.S. has dropped from a peak of 1 million in early December to about 490,000 last week.
Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. have reached the highest level since early last year. The seven-day average for newly reported Covid-19 deaths reached 2,191 a day on January 24, 2022, up about 1,000 from daily death counts two months ago.