Eight thousand of 75,000 Delta Air Lines employees have tested positive for the coronavirus within the past month, CNBC reported Thursday.
According to the report, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said the resulting absences took a toll on holiday season profits.
“Delta reported a loss for the quarter and forecast another for the first three months of the year because of the fast-spreading omicron variant, but predicted travel would begin to rebound again in late February,” the report states.
Across the industry, omicron infections and winter storms have reportedly contributed to upwards of 20,000 flight cancellations in the U.S. between Christmas Eve and the first week of January. United Airlines also announced this week that four percent of its workforce (3,000 out of nearly 70,000) have called out sick for coronavirus.
As of Thursday, Delta has only canceled one percent of its flights in the past week, showing that cancellations have “eased significantly” since the holidays. Bastian told CNBC’s Squawk Box that sick employees have had “no significant health issues.”
According to the report, later last year, the airline changed its sick leave policy from ten days of paid leave to five days “outside of sick banks” for employees who test positive for coronavirus. They receive two more days if they still test positive for the virus on the fifth day.
“That came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] updated its guidelines for Covid quarantining, halving its recommendation to five days,” CNBC reported, noting that Delta and other airlines “urged the CDC to make the change.”
Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, the largest U.S. flight attendant union, slammed Delta’s policy in a tweet, to which the airline issued a cease-and-desist letter.
“Delta is telling workers across work groups that they should come to work w/ symptoms even if someone in the household tested positive,” Nelson wrote. Workers were told to “come to work after 5 days if the fever is below 100.9, even if still testing positive.”
Bastian reportedly stood by the policy and said the change was centered around CDC guidance.
Kevin Hayslett becomes fourth Republican to enter CD 13 race with backing from Bob Gualtieri
Hayslett has also been endorsed by Gualtieri’s predecessor, Sheriff Jim Coats.
Local business owner and former prosecutor Kevin Hayslett is launching a campaign for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, becoming the fourth Republican to enter the race.
Hayslett, a Clearwater attorney who grew up in Pinellas County, introduced himself into the race as a “Trump Republican” and reinforced his support of law enforcement with notable endorsements from Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and his predecessor, Sheriff Jim Coats.
“I’m a lifelong Pinellas County resident and a local business owner who raised three great sons right here with my lovely wife,” Hayslett said in a statement. “I care about our community, and I have deep roots here, but like many others, I’m concerned with how Washington politicians are trying to dictate how we live our lives.”
Hayslett’s entrance into the race may throw a bump in the road for primary opponents Anna Paulina Luna and Amanda Makki, who both ran for the seat in 2020, with Luna ousting Makki for the GOP nomination. Luna and Makki have both established themselves as pro-Trump Republicans and heightened conservative rhetoric, with Luna snagging a prized endorsement from the former President.
However, Hayslett may stir things up, coming in with strong platforms that echo his opponents’ pro-Donald Trump sentiment. In listing his platforms, Hayslett says that he plans to take on immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser, and “his out-of-touch agenda,” as well as standing up to President Joe Biden‘s “radical agenda.”
“Washington is clearly broken, and the Biden-Pelosi agenda is hurting Americans. I’m a proud supporter of President Trump, a former prosecutor, and a political outsider who is running for Congress to secure our border, combat inflation, support public safety, and lower our taxes,” Hayslett said in a statement.
And, the endorsement from Gualtieri will likely booster his campaign’s start. A vocal leader against sanctuary cities, Gualtieri, recognized as one of Tampa Bay’s most popular politicians, was re-elected in 2020 with 62.50% of the vote.
In 2020, Gualtieri was appointed to Trump’s Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice and received the 2019 Ferris E. Lucas Sheriff of the Year award by the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA).
“Kevin Hayslett is a true leader who I’ve worked with when he was a prosecutor to put dangerous criminals behind bars and keep Pinellas County families safe. As a member of Congress, Kevin Hayslett will be a strong ally to ensure we keep crime rates low, and that’s why he’s local law enforcement’s clear choice for Congress,” Gualtieri said in a statement.
The CD 13 race is expected to be one of the most competitive in the state. It will likely be among the most expensive as donors nationwide contribute. Democrats hope to keep the seat blue, while Republicans focus on flipping a key swing district as the party battles to reclaim a majority in the U.S. House.
The Republican primary also includes nonprofit founder Audrey Henson, who entered the race in the fall of 2021. Republican William Braddock dropped out of the race in June after recordings surfaced of him threatening Luna.
The victor of the Republican Primary will face the winning candidate for the Democratic nomination, including state Reps. Ben Diamond and Michele Rayner–Goolsby and former Barack Obama administration national security adviser Eric Lynn.
CD 13 is currently a fairly purple district. Heading into last year’s presidential election, Republicans, through a massive voter registration effort that will continue into the 2022 midterms, chipped away at the Democratic advantage in the Pinellas County district from 5.2 percentage points to just 4.6.
And with redistricting on the horizon, Republicans leading the process could narrow that even more by shifting district boundaries northward, though they may be reluctant to get too creative with redistricting after the Florida Supreme Court foiled their last attempts to draw a map favorable to the GOP.
‘Presidency Could Use a Reset’: Media Give Joe Biden Negative Press Conference Reviews
The establishment media handed President Joe Biden negative reviews after his press conference Wednesday, the sixth reported solo presser of his presidency.
As the oftentimes Democrat-allied media have tried to protect the president from his gaffes, miscues, and overt blunders by avoiding certain topics while focusing on others, many of the establishment media’s headlines after his two-hour press conference were negative.
“As one Joe builds, another Joe destroys,” a Washington Post op-ed headlined about the press conference. The article used language such as, “Biden admitted defeat” and “Biden found himself negotiating with President Manchin through the assembled reporters.”
“It’s time for him [Biden] to produce — or spare us the naive piety. In democracy’s dark hour, he has already done incalculable harm,” the article dissected the speech.
The leading opinion article in the New York Times Thursday morning highlighted Biden’s polling slide with independents and the president’s “weak approval ratings” before acknowledging Biden failed to destroy election integrity.
“Never mind about voting rights or avoiding another Jan. 6. It’s the economy, Joe,” the article stated, criticizing Biden’s 40-year-high inflation.
PBS News titled its response to Biden’s press conference, “Biden acknowledges setbacks to domestic agenda in rare press conference.”
After noting the solo press conference was his first in ten months, PBS News stressed Biden’s answers to the administration’s crisis: “anxiety over omicron,” “soaring inflation,” and the “stalemate on voting rights legislation.”
The Post published a second headline that insinuated Biden’s presidency is broken. “How Biden can fix his presidency,” it read.
“His presidency could use a reset,” the article bluntly stated. “[I]n recent weeks, the omicron variant has set records for new cases in the United States, jobs numbers are volatile, inflation is up, and the Democrats’ $2 trillion Build Back Better plan has stalled in the Senate.”
The Post also published a third negative headline about Biden’s press conference, which admitted the media’s reviews of Biden’s press conference were negative. “The media wants to paint Joe Biden as a failure. He won’t let that happen.”
“President Biden, while marking the end of his first year in office on Wednesday, met a press corps anxious to paint him as a failure,” the article’s first sentence began.
Upon the conclusion of Biden’s press conference, where he defended himself against polling data that suggests 49 percent believe the president is not mentally fit, the White House had reportedly planned a media “clean up” by Vice President Kamala Harris and White House press secretary Jen Psaki:
MAN! “Kamala” went on The TODAY Show to clean up JOE’S MESSY PANTS from yesterday’s DRUG TRIP of a Press Conference. SHE WAS REALLY SNIPPY ABOUT IT! I mean, Savannah is Fake News but SHE didn’t screw up that Press Conference, JOE DID!!!! pic.twitter.com/uHof7SOkq5
— Greg Kelly (@gregkellyusa) January 20, 2022
Harris was reportedly scheduled on all three cable news networks: CBS’s Morning, NBC’s Today Show, and ABC’s Good Morning America. Psaki appeared on Fox News. And White House chief of staff Ron Klain had a prerecorded message ready to air on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
Psaki’s Fox News appearance was a quite civil interview. This clip gives you the flavor. pic.twitter.com/mV3laviUck
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 20, 2022
Harris laughs when confronted on Biden’s lie that he would “shut down the virus.” pic.twitter.com/t9IENDw1po
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 20, 2022
White House Cleans Up Again After Joe Biden Questions Legitimacy of 2022 Election
The White House spent Thursday morning trying to clean up comments President Joe Biden made questioning the legitimacy of the 2022 midterms.
“Lets be clear: The president was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki wrote on social media.
Lets be clear: @potus was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election. He was making the opposite point: In 2020, a record number of voters turned out in the face of a pandemic, and election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) January 20, 2022
During his press conference, Biden repeatedly warned that voting reforms passed by Republicans in states could call into question the results of the election.
“Oh, yeah, I think it easily could be — be illegitimate,” Biden said when asked about the 2022 midterms, as Breitbart News reported.
Biden repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the upcoming 2022 election, unless bills were passed in Congress to federalize elections.
“I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit,” he said. “It’s — the increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these — these reforms passed.”
Psaki claimed Biden was actually trying to support the legitimacy of the election.
Biden questioned the legitimacy of the 2022 midterm elections, after repeatedly lecturing former President Donald Trump and Republicans for casting doubts on the 2020 presidential election. https://t.co/xf5te5BKmg
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 20, 2022
“Let’s be clear: The president was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election,” she wrote. “He was making the opposite point.”
She claimed Biden was challenging Republicans for trying to overturn the 2020 election results on claims of election fraud.
“The Big Lie is putting our democracy at risk. We’re fighting to protect it,” she concluded.
Psaki also went on Fox News to try to explain Biden’s comments.
.@PressSec told Fox News that President Biden “absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate.”
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) January 20, 2022
Psaki’s latest attempt to explain the president is not the only thing she had to correct after Biden’s nearly two-hour press conference on Wednesday.
She immediately released a statement on Russia and Ukraine after Biden shocked the world by suggesting Putin “has to do something” on Ukraine and that a “minor incursion” might be allowed.
“President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” Psaki wrote, insisting that Biden “affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”
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