Viewpoint: Supreme Court vaccination mandate decision sets emergency bar too high 

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By opting to block enforcement of the Biden administration's vaccination mandate for businesses, the Supreme Court sets a potentially dangerous precedent for public health and future national crises, Timothy O'Brien, a Bloomberg contributor, argued in an op-ed Jan. 13.

The Supreme Court noted that the mandate is "no everyday exercise of federal power." Mr. O'Brien agreed, but argued that the COVID-19 pandemic merits an extraordinary response from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to a degree that an act of Congress should not be necessary. 

"Lethal, contagious viruses don’t distinguish between workplaces and homes. That’s how they’re able to foster pandemics," he wrote. Mr. O'Brien noted that other substances, including drugs and tobacco, are banned from workplaces because they are harmful, showing how public health and business must align their perspectives to keep people safe. 

He argued that public health crises need to be recognized as issues that cross state lines and borders as well as the line between public and private, and should be handled as such. 

"Public health emergencies aren’t best left to states alone to manage, or to Congress to endlessly debate," he says. 

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