While it’s been over a year since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, new variations of Coronavirus continue to spread throughout the United States. 

In a controversial mandate, President Biden announced on Sept. 9 that businesses with over 100 employees must be vaccinated or agree to weekly Covid testing. Additionally, Biden announced he intends to require vaccinations for federal workers and contractors, as well as health care workers whose workplaces receive Medicare or Medicaid funding.

This mandate follows the full approval of Pfizer on Aug. 23 by the federal department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

In response to criticism concerning the vaccine mandate, Biden replied, “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.”

This remark comes after the Delta variant has begun sweeping across America in extraordinary numbers, proving to be more contagious than last season’s bout of the virus, with more than 1,900 deaths from Covid-19 occurring each day.

However, federal OSHA rules do not cover state and local employees such as UTC faculty and staff, and more guidance concerning state and local government workers is expected to roll out in the coming months.

Tennessee itself has become a major Covid-19 hotspot in the United States, with an average of 7,438 cases per day being reported, meaning 109 out of every 100,000 Tennessee residents currently has Covid. Currently, 52% of Tennessee residents have received at least one dose, and only 44% are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with an average of 64 deaths per day. 

While Hamilton County is currently reporting an average of 308 Covid-19 cases per day, UTC has only 56 open Covid-19 cases as of Sept. 18. The University has not announced plans to mandate the vaccine at this time, but wearing masks and social distancing is enforced.

For more information on Covid-19 cases in Tennessee, check the New York Times Covid-19 Updates by State. 

For updates from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, continue checking the Coronavirus update page.

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