If you look back at where we were when the pandemic started and compare that situation with where we are now, you’ll notice that a lot has been done in efforts to help the world recover and move on from COVID-19. In fact, it’s obvious that we are in a much better position today, with vaccines widely available, schools reopening, countries lifting travel restrictions, and daily life going back to “normal.”
In a span of a little over a year, we’ve managed to loosen COVID-19’s hold — and it doesn’t stop there. All over the world, governments are coming up with new strategies to reduce infections and fatalities. With all of this now in our arsenal, we’ve built a stronger line of defense against COVID-19 and are paving the way to herd immunity.
Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb revealed to CNBC that he predicts the COVID-19 pandemic will be over in the U.S. by January 2022. His hopes can be attributed to the proposed vaccine requirements that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking to implement by January 4.
The OSHA COVID Vaccine Mandate
As per the advice of the Biden administration, the OSHA Labor Department issued rules that make vaccination required for businesses with 100 or more employees. Under the mandate, all employees should be fully vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines by January 4.
Employees who aren’t able to or prefer not to get vaccinated will be required to wear masks at work and provide negative COVID-19 test results every week at their own expense. Businesses will not be required to shoulder the cost of weekly COVID-19 tests for unvaccinated workers unless they are required by law or labor union contracts to do so. However, employers must offer paid days off for vaccination purposes and paid sick leaves for their recovery from side effects.
The vaccination or regular COVID-19 testing requirement is set to be implemented on January 4, but the mask-wearing requirement for unvaccinated individuals begins to apply to businesses on December 5 this year.
Exceptions to the Vaccine Mandate
The OSHA COVID Vaccine mandate applies to businesses with 100 or more employees. However, certain members of these companies may be exempted. These include individuals who:
- Work from home
- Perform work outside the office setting exclusively
- Have sincerely held religious beliefs
- Have disabilities
- Are diagnosed with medical conditions that prevent them from getting vaccinated.
Reaching an Endemic Phase of COVID-19
The OSHA vaccine mandate covers over 84 million employees in the private sector, which makes up a huge chunk of the total population in the U.S. eligible for inoculation. With this new mandate in place, the U.S. will be able to fast-forward its efforts to vaccinate its entire nation, making the majority of its population immune from COVID-19 and its future strains.
Herd immunity is expected to be achieved by January 4 and from there on out, the virus may well be over for the U.S.