Opinion: Novak Djokovic would have been better off on the US Supreme Court

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the court’s decision as helping to “keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe”, ending a week-long saga of court hearings, revoked visas, diplomatic wrangling and more.
It’s such a shame for Djokovic that he didn’t have his case heard in the United States Supreme Court, which may very well have left the tennis star not only playing in the tournament, but also hitting the germs. of Covid in the stands with his racket. OK, I’m exaggerating for the last part. But the same week, the Australian court upheld the revocation of Djokovic’s visa for non-vaccination – a rule all tennis players arriving for the tournament know. since november – America’s top court has struck down a similar effort by President Joe Biden to protect a nation’s public health.
Last year, the Biden administration introduced a national mandate for companies with more than 100 employees to require full vaccination or weekly testing for their workers. The mandate, which would concern around 80 million workers, was immediately challenged.
In Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling, the six conservative justices in favor of blocking the warrant did not dispute the federal government’s argument that weekly testing or requiring vaccines would save thousands of lives “and prevent hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations.” Rather, their decision was based on the view that the Biden administration “did not have the power to impose the mandate,” which states and employers said would cause “hundreds of thousands of employees to leave their jobs”.
When it comes to saving lives rather than saving on compliance costs, the court astonishingly said, “It is not our role to weigh such trade-offs.” It did, however, allow a nationwide vaccination mandate for some healthcare workers.
The Supreme Court of the United States has apparently become just as partisan like the rest of the GOP, which has made anti-Covid mandates — from masks to vaccines — an article of faith. The result has been a very real impact on the health of Americans.
For example, in Florida – a state with a population of 21 million, similar to Australia’s 25 million – GOP Governor Ron DeSantis in November signed what he boasted “ the strongest piece of legislation that has been enacted anywhere in the country”. to oppose the requirements of the Covid-19 vaccine. The law imposed fines on companies and even hospitals which imposed vaccinations without the choice to opt out through a medical or religious exemption or proof of natural immunity – despite the fact that having recovered from a Covid-19 infection does not make people immune to get it again.

This law championed by DeSantis also jaw-dropped school districts from having mask requirements and prohibiting schools from quarantining healthy students who may have been exposed to the virus, all measures that are widely used to prevent the spread of Covid-19. But DeSantis apparently refused to let a little thing like science stand in the way of scoring points with the GOP base.

In contrast, Australia has imposed strict safeguards against Covid-19, including six interlocks from Melbourne – a city of 5 million people – which totaled more than 260 days. It may seem drastic to some Americans, but the data shows that these measures have saved lives. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country in this nearly two-year pandemic total 2,673 people. Compare that to Florida, where since Saturday there have been more 63,000 Covid-related deaths.
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It’s impossible to say how many lives would have been saved if Republicans like Florida Governor DeSantis hadn’t made opposition to Covid-19 safeguards a partisan issue. What we do know is that Australia’s Covid policies have resulted in “one of the lowest death rates, strongest economic recoveries and highest vaccination rates in the world” – as has said Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who revoked Djokovic’s visa, after court on Sunday. decision.
One data point that stands out from his statement are vaccination rates. Almost 80% of all Australians have been vaccinated, and by Hawke which includes 91.6% of Australians over the age of 16. Compare that to our country, where only 63% of all Americans are fully immunized.
Unfortunately, given current politics, states with higher vaccination rates tend to be those that voted for Biden in the 2020 election, while states that backed former President Donald Trump are generally at the train. Worse, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, “Since vaccines have become widely available, the average risk of dying from Covid-19 is more than 50% higher in states that voted for president. Trump in 2020 than he is in states that voted for President Biden.”
Recent data confirms this, showing that the states with the highest Covid-related death rate in 2021 were Oklahoma, Alabama and West Virginia – again, the states voting for Trump. (Florida was ninth with a rate of 190 deaths per 100,000 people, totaling nearly 41,000 deaths. That was well above the national average rate of 144 Covid-related deaths per 100,000 people.)
So, superstar tennis player Djokovic won’t be able to play at the Australian Open – but we can assume he’ll still be fine. He has a net worth of approximately $220 million, and there’s a good chance he’ll win even more tournaments in the future.

I wish I could say that the United States will do the same. As long as GOP leaders prioritize scoring with their base over protecting all Americans, over taking a page out of Australia’s workplace safety measures, our nation will get sicker — and not only when it comes to our physical health.

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