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GE suspends Covid vaccine and tests rules after High Court overturns Biden’s mandate

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GE suspends Covid vaccine and tests rules after High Court overturns Biden’s mandate

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An employee helps install a traction motor on the truck of a General Electric Evolution Series Tier 4 diesel locomotive at the GE Manufacturing Solutions plant in Fort Worth, Texas.

Luke Sharret | Bloomberg | Getty Images

General Electric suspended its Covid vaccine and testing requirements on Friday after the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s term, a company spokesperson told CNBC.

GE, which had 174,000 employees at the end of 2020, encouraged its employees to get vaccinated, the spokesperson said.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority, in a 6-3 ruling, called the Biden administration’s demands a “blunt instrument” that “does not discriminate based on industry or risk of exposure to Covid.” -19″.

President Joe Biden, in a statement after the court ruling, called on companies to voluntarily enforce vaccine and testing rules.

“The court has ruled that my administration cannot use the power granted to it by Congress to demand this action,” Biden said. “But that doesn’t stop me from using my voice as president to call on employers to do the right thing to protect the health and economy of Americans.”

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has promised to use the existing authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to hold companies accountable for protecting workers from Covid.

“We urge all employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly to most effectively combat this deadly virus in the workplace,” Walsh said in a statement Thursday. “Employers are responsible for the safety of their workers on the job.”

The American Medical Association, one of the largest groups of doctors in the United States, disagreed that the Supreme Court had blocked “one of the most effective tools in the fight against the transmission and death of this aggressive virus”.

“Workplace transmission has been a major factor in the spread of Covid-19,” said WADA President Dr Gerald Harmon. “Now more than ever, workers in all walks of life across the country need common-sense, evidence-based protections against infection, hospitalization and death from Covid-19.”

Harmon urged companies to protect their workers from the disease. A number of large companies – including Citigroup, Nike and Columbia Sportswear – have said they will start laying off unvaccinated workers.

The Covid omicron variant is driving new infections to unprecedented levels. The United States is reporting an average of more than 786,000 new infections each day, up 29% from last week, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Additionally, hospitalizations are at a pandemic high level based on federal data dating back to the summer of 2020. About 151,000 Americans were in hospitals with Covid on Friday, according to a seven-day average of health data and social services, up 23% from a week earlier. This figure includes both patients who were admitted to a hospital due to Covid and those who tested positive after admission.

– CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report

GE suspends Covid vaccine and tests rules after High Court overturns Biden’s mandate

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