US Republican Rep Greene says ‘no one cares’ about Delta variant

Congresswoman’s allegations highlight how COVID-19 has been politicised in the United States.

US Republican politician Marjorie Taylor Greene is dismissing the threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19 - she led chants of 'Fire Fauci' at a Trump rally on June 26 [File: Gaelen Morse/Reuters]

A controversial rising star in the United States Republican Party, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has tweeted comments dismissive of the threat from the Delta variant of COVID-19 as President Joe Biden, a Democrat, pushes for greater acceptance of vaccines in the US amid a newly rising death toll in some areas.

“No one cares about the Delta variant or any other variant,” Representative Greene, a newly elected member of Congress from Georgia, said in a string of tweets she called a “message from America to the Swamp” unleashed on July 5.

“They are over covid & there is no amount of fear based screaming from the media that will ever force Americans to shut down again,” Greene said.

Prompting a backlash on Twitter, Greene’s comments are another sign of how the response to the coronavirus pandemic in the US has been politicised as the nation misses a goal set by President Biden for a 70 percent adult vaccination rate by July 4. Fewer than 60 percent of the US adult population had been fully vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

More than 605,000 Americans have died and 33.7 million have been infected by COVID-19, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

US COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths have declined nationwide but are increasing in some areas of the country as the more infectious Delta variant spreads. Heavily Republican states like Idaho, Wyoming, Louisiana and Mississippi have only reached a 40 percent vaccination threshold, according to US data.

Biden was meeting at the White House on Tuesday with his team of COVID-19 advisers and announced plans to renew the US government’s push to get more Americans vaccinated.

“The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family and the people you care about the most, is get vaccinated,” Biden said, urging Americans to get the vaccine as a “patriotic” act.

The US government is winding down mass vaccination centres and placing new emphasis on door-to-door community outreach and getting the vaccine into hands of doctors and local health care providers.

Biden said the US would deploy COVID-19 “surge response teams” comprised of personnel from the CDC, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies to help states and localities confront new outbreaks expected in communities with large numbers of unvaccinated people.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s top government infectious disease expert, said on July 4 in a US television interview that more than 99 percent of people who have died in the US in the past month from COVID-19 were not vaccinated.

“If you look at the number of deaths, about 99.2 percent of them are unvaccinated,” Fauci told NBC’s Meet the Press.

The Delta variant is surging worldwide and prompting renewed mask requirements and distancing in other nations even as the US seeks to move past the deadly pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 people in the country. The Delta variant is now the dominant strain in California, the US’s largest state.

Greene, a supporter of the conspiracy theorist group QAnon before her 2020 run for office, has made a name for herself in the House of Representatives with controversial and combative comments.

Democrats in February voted to strip her of committee assignments for her attacks on House Democratic leaders. Greene apologised last month for remarks comparing government mandates that people wear masks to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

A group of 40 Democrats has demanded Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy take action against Greene after she mocked Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the “little communist from New York City” at a rally in Ohio with former President Donald Trump on June 26. Greene led the pro-Trump crowd in chants of “Fire Fauci”.

“By leaving her dangerous actions unchecked – McCarthy is saying that they are acceptable,” tweeted Representative Pramila Jayapal, a progressive Democrat.

“There’s no question – they aren’t,” Jayapal said.

From its earliest days, Trump downplayed the pandemic and discouraged social distancing and the wearing of masks. He has repeatedly alleged that if the pandemic had not damaged the economy, he would have easily won the 2020 US presidential election. Many of Trump’s supporters have eschewed masks and vaccinations.

Greene’s Twitter thread on July 5 asserted the 2020 presidential election was stolen because of “fraud with absentee ballots” – US courts have rejected those claims – and slammed Biden as “weak”, criticised the media and Democrats in the House and predicted they would lose seats in the next US congressional elections in 2022.

Source: Al Jazeera

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