On Friday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging the Biden administration’s federal COVID-19 vaccine or test mandate for employers with more than 100 employees. Unlike other court cases, this one heavily involves the science behind COVID-19 and an understanding of basic facts to determine whether or not COVID-19 truly poses a threat requiring Biden’s mandate. But, a line of questioning from Justice Sonia Sotomayor indicated that she may not understand the reality that COVID-19 and the Omicron variant currently presents to the nation.
As reported by Fox News, Sotomayor objected to several claims made by Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers, arguing on behalf of GOP-led states opposing mandate:
She objected to his claim that Omicron represented a new situation than Delta, given its lesser severity in many instances, as well as his claim that vaccines appeared to be less effective at stopping transmission.
Sotomayor pointed to increased hospitalizations and said that “those numbers show that omicron is just as deadly for the unvaccinated.”
“We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators,” she said.
But, neither her claims regarding Omicron nor her claims about the number of children in the hospital because of COVID-19 were based on recent facts.
Numerous preliminary studies have indicated that Omicron, while more transmissible, is far less deadly than the Delta variant of COVID-19. Likewise, real-world data show that while the vaccine may reduce the severity of a COVID-19 case, it does not necessarily prevent transmission of the virus to other people.
On Wednesday, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that “multiple sources of now-preliminary data indicate a decrease severity with Omicron.”
“Fauci cited a study from Ontario, Canada, that found the risk of hospitalization or death was 65% lower among people infected with omicron compared with individuals who caught delta. The risk of admission to an intensive care unit or death from omicron was 83% lower, according to the study,” CNBC reported.
It should also be noted that Fauci had previously claimed that hospitals and the government were likely not differentiating children who were hospitalized “because” of COVID-19 vs. children who were hospitalized “with” COVID-19, but were primarily there for another reason — for example, a broken leg or arm.
While hospitalizations amongst children with COVID-19 have increased in recent weeks, nothing suggests that more than 100,000 children are currently in the hospital due to COVID-19.
“As of Tuesday, the average number of children and teens admitted to the hospital per day with COVID-19 was 766,” The Associated Press reported on Friday. The AP also added that Fauci noted “many children hospitalized with COVID-19 have other health conditions that make them more susceptible to complications from the virus. That includes obesity, diabetes and lung disease.”
Likewise, between March 1, 2020–June 19, 2021, there were roughly 3,116 hospitalized children and adolescents with COVID-19, which again does not necessarily mean they were there “because” of COVID-19, per Fauci’s comments.
Sotomayor’s comments were ridiculed as “shockingly dumb” via Twitter.
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