Alameda County, California residents required to mask up again

Matt 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

Important Takeaways:

  • Daily reported cases have exceeded the peak of last summer’s delta wave
  • Oakland International Airport tweeted that everyone over the age of 2 must once again wear masks in indoor settings there
  • Masks will be required in all other children and youth settings, including summer school and youth programs.
  • AC Transit also announced that it would restore its mask mandate policy on all buses “until further notice.”

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North Korea confirms launch of three ballistic missiles and first case of Covid-19

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • North Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles amid 1st virus outbreak
  • North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles toward the sea on Thursday, South Korea’s military said, in the latest of a series of weapons demonstrations this year that came just hours after it confirmed its first case of the coronavirus since the pandemic began.
  • South Korea’s military has boosted its readiness and surveillance while maintaining close coordination with the United States.
  • Earlier Thursday, North Korean state media confirmed the country’s first COVID-19 infections as Kim ordered nationwide lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus. Kim also ordered officials to bolster the country’s defense posture to avoid any security vacuum.

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Military COVID mandate “Intentional Purge” Religious Service Members say

  • Biden’s Military Is “Using the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate to “Intentionally Purge” Religious Service Members”
  • Air Force Capt. Jordan Karr, Army Maj. Samuel Sigoloff and Air Force Master Sgt. Nickolas Krupper made their cases from a variety of angles ― including religious freedom, controversy over the emergency authorization vs. Food and Drug Administration-approved version of the Pfizer vaccine and “natural immunity” to the novel coronavirus. But all agreed that the involuntary separation policy for vaccine refusal is part of a concerted effort to remove certain members of the military.
  • All three service members are party to one of several lawsuits troops have filed against the Defense Department and the services, alleging mostly that the religious exemption process is unconstitutional.
  • “It’s a purposeful purge,” Sigoloff added. “Anyone who would disobey an unlawful order is being purged out of the military, and there is a shadow policy in place that that is protecting all of these people enforcing this shadow policy.”

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Joshua Fund Poll: What Americans think about Covid-19, Russian Invasion and Biblical Prophecy

Matthew 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

Important Takeaways:

  • EXCLUSIVE POLL: What do Americans think about Iran, Russia, COVID and Bible prophecy?
  • The Joshua Fund commissioned a survey that asked respondents to answer some very specific questions about current events. Surprisingly, it turns out that a substantial portion of the population actually believes that events happening in the world today are directly related to Bible prophecy.
    • For Example
      • Do you agree or disagree that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine …is one of the signs that Jesus spoke of in the Bible when He warned that there would be “wars and rumors of wars”
      • Nearly 4-in-10 Americans (39.8%) said that they agree that the invasion is a sign of Biblical prophecy coming to pass and of the “last days.”
      • Nearly the same number – 40.3% – said they disagree.
  • Meanwhile, 19.9% said they don’t know.
    • BY RELIGION
      • 6% of atheists agree the Russian invasion is a sign of the “last days”
      • 4% of agnostics agree
      • 8% of self-identified “secular” Americans agree
      • 4% of Jews say they agree
      • 3% of Catholics say they agree
      • 8% of all Protestants agree
      • 1% of Evangelical born-again Christians agree
  • Do you agree or disagree that the COVID pandemic that has caused more than six million deaths worldwide is one of the signs that Jesus spoke of in the Bible when He warned that there would be severe “plagues” in the “last days” before His return?
    • Fully 4-in-10 Americans (40.1%) agreed that the COVID pandemic is a sign of Biblical prophecy coming to pass and of the “last days.”
  • Some 41.1% said they disagree.
  • And 18.7% said they don’t know.

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Despite Blackout of Media 20,000 Participate in Israel “Freedom Convoy”

Proverbs 25:19 “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.”

Important Takeaways:

  • As many as 20,000 vehicles participate in Israeli COVID ‘Freedom Convoy’
  • Despite nearly blackout by much of the Israeli press, as many as 20,000 vehicles participated in a “Freedom Convoy”
  • Vehicles set off on Monday, Feb. 14, from 40 cities across Israel, calling on the government to lift the state of emergency declared due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the event’s organizers.

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U.S. Supreme Court blocks Biden vaccine-or-test policy for large businesses

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.

By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Joe Biden’s pandemic-related vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses at a time of escalating COVID-19 infections while allowing his administration to enforce its separate vaccine requirement for healthcare facilities.

The court acted after hearing arguments last Friday in the legal fight over temporary mandates issued in November by two federal agencies aimed at increasing U.S. vaccination rates and making workplaces and healthcare settings safer. The cases tested presidential powers to address a swelling public health crisis that already has killed more than 845,000 Americans.

The court was divided in both cases. It ruled 6-3 with the six conservative justices in the majority and three liberal justices dissenting in blocking the broader workplace ruling. The vote was 5-4 to allow the healthcare worker rule, with two conservatives, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joining the liberals in the majority.

The federal workplace safety agency issued a rule affecting businesses with at least 100 workers requiring vaccines or weekly COVID-19 tests – a policy applying to more than 80 million employees. Challengers led by the state of Ohio and a business group asked the justices to block the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule after a lower court lifted an injunction against it. Companies were supposed to start showing they were in compliance starting this past Monday.

The other mandate required vaccination for an estimated 10.3 million workers at about 76,000 healthcare facilities including hospitals and nursing homes that accept money from the Medicare and Medicaid government health insurance programs for elderly, disabled and low-income Americans.

The court’s unsigned ruling regarding larger businesses said that the OSHA rule was not an ordinary use of federal power.

“It is instead a significant encroachment on the lives – and health – of a vast number of employees,” the court said.

The court’s majority downplayed the risk COVID-19 specifically poses in the workplace, comparing it instead to “day-to-day” crime and pollution hazards that individuals face everywhere.

“Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life -simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock – would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization,” the court said.

In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote on behalf of the liberal justices that the decision “stymies the federal government’s ability to counter the unparalleled threat that COVID-19 poses to our nation’s workers.”

The United States leads the world in COVID-19 deaths and infections.

The high court blocked a Dec. 17 decision by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that had allowed the mandate to go into effect.

The court’s order blocking enforcement while litigation continues in a lower court likely signals doom for the administration’s attempt to boost vaccination numbers by harnessing federal powers to protect workplace health and safety.

‘DO NO HARM’

In the healthcare facilities case, the court’s differently comprised majority concluded that the regulation “fits neatly” within the power Congress conferred on the government to impose conditions on Medicaid and Medicare funds, which includes policies that protect health and safety.

“After all, ensuring that providers take steps to avoid transmitting a dangerous virus to their patients is consistent with the fundamental principle of the medical profession: first, do no harm,” the court said.

The justices lifted orders by federal judges in Missouri and Louisiana blocking the policy in 24 states, allowing the administration to enforce it nearly nationwide. Enforcement was blocked in Texas by a lower court in separate litigation not at issue in the case before the Supreme Court.

Workers must be vaccinated by the end of February under the mandate.

The White House has said the two mandates will save lives and strengthen the U.S. economy by increasing the number of vaccinated Americans by the millions. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the justices that the pandemic poses a particularly acute workplace danger, with employees getting sick and dying every day because of their exposure to the coronavirus on the job, with outbreaks across all industries.

The challengers argued that the two federal agencies overstepped their authority in issuing the mandates without specific authorization by Congress.

The Supreme Court’s consideration of the challenges to the mandates underscored how divisive the issue of vaccination has become in the United States, as in many nations. Many Republicans have been critical of vaccine mandates imposed by governments and businesses.

The pandemic has presented an ongoing test for Biden since he took office in January 2021, having promised to improve the federal response to the crisis after an approach by his predecessor Donald Trump that critics called disjointed. But like many other countries the United States is still struggling to overcome the pandemic and is facing an upswing in COVID-19 cases driven by the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Flights cut as 3,000 workers call out sick

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

Important Takeaways:

  • United cuts flights as about 3,000 workers call out sick from Covid
  • JetBlue Airways was the first carrier to cut back its January schedule because of a surge in infection rates among crews
  • American Airlines said it would do the same this week as Covid rates climbed among regional carriers.
  • United and Southwest are among the airlines offering pilots extra pay to pick up trips in January.
  • “Just as an example, in one day alone at Newark, nearly one-third of our workforce called out sick”

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Breakdown of services due to Omicron explosion

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

Important Takeaways:

  • Omicron explosion spurs nationwide breakdown of services
  • First responders, hospitals, schools and government agencies have employed an all-hands-on-deck approach to keep the public safe, but they are worried how much longer they can keep it up.
  • In Kansas’ Johnson County, paramedics are working 80 hours a week.
  • Pharmacies have been slammed by staffing shortages, either because employees are out sick or have left altogether.
  • In Los Angeles, more than 800 police and fire personnel were sidelined because of the virus
  • In New York City, officials have had to delay or scale back trash and subway services

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Concerns about public safety in L.A.

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

Important Takeaways:

  • More than 1,000 L.A.-area police officers, firefighters, paramedics ill or home quarantining due to COVID
  • More than 500 employees of the Los Angeles Police Department — including 416 sworn officers
  • The Los Angeles Fire Department had 201 employees out due to the coronavirus
  • Sheriff’s Department had 552 employees out, including 389 sworn deputies
  • A spokesman for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti called it an “unprecedented surge”

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Report new variant of COVID

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

Important Takeaways:

  • New COVID-19 variant found in France nicknamed IHU: report
  • The ‘IHU’ variant, or B.1.640.2, has 46 mutations
  • The first patient identified with the variant returned to France from visiting Cameroon
  • Infected individuals in the southern Alps region in the country.

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