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More than one-quarter of Americans are now living in a county that no longer has high levels of community transmission of coronavirus. COVID updates.That's a major change from earlier in the pandemic wave driven by the delta variant, when every state was considered to have high levels of community transmission, which the CDC says is 100 cases per 100,000 people per week.
The claim: Resistance to COVID-19 vaccine mandates is responsible for supply chain backups
Ice cream, books and Christmas trees could all be in short supply soon due to a complex combination of rising consumer demand, labor shortages and decreased production capacity worldwide.
But online, some blame COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
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"Trucker's (sic) that refuse the Jab have refused to drive into mandate states and cities... this is why the ports, rail, and warehouses are all backed up," reads text in an Oct. 13 Facebook post. "The 'shipping crisis' is a crisis because those ports and rail terminals are in Blue States."
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The post is a screenshot of an Oct. 10 post from Joyce Bowen on Gab, a social media platform popular with conservatives. Bowen told USA TODAY in a message she copied the text from a comment by user Paul Todd.
"1.4 million of the 3 million truck drivers, including the trucking company I owns (sic), simply drive elsewhere," the text reads. "News won't talk about it, but I'm giving you first hand knowledge of what's happening and why shortages are happening."
In early September, President Joe Biden announced all employers with more than 100 workers would have to require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing. Some cities with large ports, such as Los Angeles, also require vaccination to enter public spaces.
Fact check: California trucking regulations aren't to blame for cargo backlog
Fact check: Image is from Australian refugee incident in 2001
An image recently posted online isn't from anything happening now at U.S. ports. It was taken 20 years ago during a refugee crisis in Australia.The latest of these claims to have drone footage of a stalled cargo ship.
Big trucking companies have spoken out, saying vaccine requirements could potentially push truckers away and worsen supply chain woes. But experts say local, state and federal mandates are not responsible for current nationwide shipping delays.
"The online claim is too strong," John Macdonald, associate professor of supply chain management and logistics at Colorado State University, said in an email. "Drivers from companies I contacted have had no challenges fulfilling their job duties due to vaccination status."
USA TODAY reached out to Todd and the Facebook user who shared the post for comment.
Delays due to rising demand, production constraints
The reasons for the current supply chain problems in the U.S. predate the Biden administration's recent COVID-19 vaccine requirements. There's no evidence local or state mandates have contributed to delays, either.
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"I have seen nothing to suggest that vaccine mandates are to blame for supply chain backups," David Correll, co-director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's FreightLab, said in an email. "The available supply of both truck drivers and warehouse and dock workers was already considered ‘short’ long before COVID wreaked havoc on our supply chains."
As of 2019, more than 3.5 million Americans worked as truck drivers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with self-employed truckers making up about 29% of the truck transportation industry. But now, the industry is short tens of thousands of drivers.
Opposition to coronavirus vaccine mandates is not thought to be a contributing factor.
Fact check: Photos of bare, fully stocked grocery store shelves shared online to support false claim
Norita Taylor, director of public relations for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, told USA TODAY in an email that the group has "not heard of any such mandates or connections to (the) bottleneck." Experts who study logistics and freight transportation also say the Facebook post is baseless.
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Children are one step closer to being able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Ocugen plans to begin US trials of COVAXIN in US. Latest updates.The resounding support is a major step forward for making school-age children eligible for inoculation — likely by next week — but there are still three crucial hurdles to clear: The FDA will have to sign off, an independent CDC advisory panel will review the data, and then the CDC director would have to give her clearance.
"I have not heard anywhere that there is a widespread movement among truckers to avoid locations that have vaccine mandates as a matter of local or state policy," Steve Tracey, executive director of the Center for Supply Chain Research at Pennsylvania State University, said in an email. "If this were true, I’d have to assume it would be widely distributed information among reputable industry-focused trucking media outlets – it isn’t."
The reason for supply chain snags across the country has to do with the economic effects of COVID-19.
During the height of the pandemic, consumer spending dropped by record numbers. As more Americans got vaccinated and ventured outside their homes, spending ticked back up. Now, retail sales continue to rise.
The result: an overwhelmed supply chain.
"Over the last 20-30 years, the global logistics and manufacturing industries – much of the manufacturing off-shore in low wage countries – have been well-tuned to keep costs down, resulting in a very lean, efficient, and low-cost system," Chip White, a professor and transportation and logistics expert at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said in an email. "However, lean systems don’t react well to disruptions, and COVID has provided major disruptions in supply, labor, and demand worldwide."
As Biden vaccine mandates loom, protests for personal freedoms swell. What happens next?
Experts say getting people vaccinated against COVID-19 should be a top priority. Is the Biden administration's vaccine mandate the right way to do it?"We are watching our friends and family and neighbors die in front of our eyes," said Thornell, CEO of Cheyenne Regional Health System, the state's largest.
A backlog of cargo at West Coast ports, staffing gaps in the logistics industry, container shortages and rising shipping costs have all contributedto supply chain problems. Further upstream, there are production cutbacks in countries like China, which has been grappling with a far-reaching power shortage.
Fact check: Image is from Australian refugee incident in 2001
"To better cope with these disruptions, our global supply chains now need to be more resilient and agile, which requires additional buffer manufacturing capacity, freight transportation – rail, trucking and drivers – and warehousing, and inventory levels throughout the supply chain," White said, "all which costs money and will require time to implement."
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that resistance to COVID-19 vaccine mandates is responsible for supply chain backups. Experts say local, state and federal mandates are not responsible for current nationwide shipping delays. The supply chain problems are due to a combination of rising consumer demand, production constraints, cargo backlogs and labor shortages around the world.
Our fact-check sources:
USA TODAY, Oct. 15, Grocery store shelves bare? These products may be hard to find amid supply chain disruptions
USA TODAY, Oct. 21, Christmas trees, sweaters, gifts in shipping mess: How supply chain issues will affect holiday shopping
USA TODAY, Oct. 19, Yes, there could be a book shortage this holiday season. But it is not as bad as you think
USA TODAY, Jan. 11, Parler ban: What is Gab, the social network gaining popularity among conservatives?
Associated Press, Sept. 9, Biden announces sweeping new COVID-19 vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans
The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 14, Big Truckers Say Vaccine Mandate Could Push Drivers Away
Thomas Corsi, Oct. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Steve Tracey, Oct. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
David Correll, Oct. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Sampath Rajagopalan, Oct. 19, Email exchange with USA TODAY
The New York Times, Oct. 18, The Busiest Port in the U.S.
Norita Taylor, Oct. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Chip White, Oct. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Anne Goodchild, Oct. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
USA TODAY, Oct. 6, LA to require proof of vaccination for most indoor public venues; US to invest $1 billion on home tests: COVID updates
USA TODAY, Oct. 15, Supply chain issues: What are they and how will shortages impact the holiday shopping season?
CalMatters, Oct. 14, Port backlogs sum up California’s COVID crisis
Nallan Suresh, Oct. 19, Email exchange with USA TODAY
The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, China Takes the Brakes Off Coal Production to Tackle Power Shortage
John Macdonald, Oct. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Los Angeles Times, Oct. 14, When will supply chains be back to normal? And how did things get so bad?
CNN, Oct. 19, Wanted: 80,000 truck drivers to help fix the supply chain
USA TODAY, Oct. 18, Fact check: California trucking regulations aren't to blame for cargo backlog
U.S. Census Bureau, June 6, 2019, Number of Truckers at All-Time High
Joyce Bowen, Oct. 21, Gab exchange with USA TODAY
USA TODAY, July 30, 2020, US economy contracted record 32.9% in Q2 amid state shutdowns, COVID-19 contagion fears
USA TODAY, April 29, The economy grew 6.4% in Q1 as stimulus checks, COVID-19 shots, looser business constraints spurred more spending
Associated Press, Oct. 16, Retail sales are climbing despite sticker shock in grocery stores, car lots and restaurants
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Federal advisory committee, CDC director to decide on vaccines for kids ages 5-11: Live COVID-19 updates
A federal advisory committee will meet Tuesday to decide whether to recommend coronavirus vaccines to children ages 5 to 11. More COVID updatesIf the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices decides the benefits of vaccination outweigh risks in this age group, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would weigh in. If Dr. Rochelle Walensky signs off, vaccines would become available as soon as Wednesday at pharmacies and pediatricians’ offices.
Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
In an aerial view, container ships (Top R) are anchored by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as they wait to offload on Sept. 20, 2021 near Los Angeles. Amid a record-high demand for imported goods and a shortage of shipping containers and truckers, the twin ports are currently seeing unprecedented congestion. On Sept. 17, there were a record total of 147 ships, 95 of which were container ships, in the twin ports, which move about 40 percent of all cargo containers entering the U.S.
Cargo containers wait to be transported after being offloaded at the Port of Los Angeles, Oct 16, 2021 in San Pedro, Calif. Supply chain issues have caused shortages of goods throughout the country with cargo ships waiting off shore in Southern California to offload.
Trucks line up to enter one of the piers at the Port of Los Angeles on Oct 16, 2021.
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Empty shelves are seen at an IKEA store on Oct. 15, 2021 in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City. Executives at IKEA have warned of supply chain disruption that could last into next year leaving some stores without certain items. Stores in North America are expected to be hardest hit by product shortages first and then followed by stores in Europe.
A truck drives past cargo containers stacked at the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest container port, on Oct. 15, 2021 in San Pedro, Calif. As surging inflation and supply chain disruptions are disrupting global economic recovery, the Washington-based IMF has projected that global gross domestic product will grow by 5.9% this year — a 0.1 percentage point lower than its July estimate. The Port of Los Angeles is transitioning to 24/7 operations amid efforts to ease supply backlogs.
In an aerial view, trailers sit idle at a Virginia Inland Port facility Oct. 14, 2021 in Front Royal, Va. A lack of certified commercial drivers has added to the disruptions in the economic supply chain as the United States tries to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
Shipping containers are stacked on a dock at the Port of Oakland on Oct. 14, 2021 in California. Disruptions to the global supply chain are continuing with extreme port congestion, a lack of truck drivers and a microchip shortage.
A cargo ship passes below the Francis Scott Key Bridge while leaving the Port of Baltimore Oct. 14, 2021, in Baltimore, Md. Closed factories, clogged ports, no truck drivers -- up and down the global supply chain there are problems, raising concerns that it could disrupt the global economic recovery.
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Containers are unloaded from ships at the Port of Los Angeles, in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 14, 2021. The Port of Los Angeles and its longshoreman union will provide 24-hour service to alleviate backlogs that have exacerbated global supply chain problems, the White House said Oct. 13, 2021.
Semi-trailer trucks move along Lincoln Highway while using the indirect interchange from Interstates 70, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and U.S. Route 30 on Oct. 14, 2021 in Breezewood, Pa. A lack of certified commercial drivers has added to the disruptions in the economic supply chain as the United States tries to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
Cargo is removed from an international flight at Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 11, 2021. U.S. wholesale prices jumped 8.6 percent in the 12 months ended in September, the biggest increase in over a decade, according to US Labor Department data released on Oct. 14, 2021. It was the sixth consecutive record for the annual measure, which has tracked rising prices for firms as they deal with global supply chain bottlenecks and worker shortages amid the sudden rebound in demand as economies reopen from the Covid-19 pandemic.
A train load of containers heads to the Port of Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 13, 2021. The supply chain squeeze has caused climbing prices and delays in delivery that are threatening the U.S. economy and holiday shopping.
A surfer waits for waves at Huntington Beach, Calif. on Sept. 25, 2021 as container ships wait offshore. A record number of cargo ships have been stuck waiting outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to have cargo unloaded, amid backups in America's two busiest ports.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Supply chain delays not related to COVID-19 vaccine mandates
Off to fast start, COVID-19 vaccinations for kids 5-11 will ramp up in coming days .
COVID-19 shots for children 5 to 11 started Tuesday night, and hundreds more locations will follow in the coming days as distribution ramps up.As soon as Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine was approved Tuesday night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for use in children 5 to 11, the hospital began getting shots in little arms.