Thousands of Americans from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. for a march against Covid-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions, as people were frustrated and fatigued by the recent surge in cases and the overall health crisis.
During the march on Sunday called “Defeat The Mandates: An American Homecoming”, protesters walked from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to decry Covid-19 mandates, reports Xinhua news agency.
The march was billed as a protest of vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, vaccines for children, and other pandemic requirements and restrictions.
Among those marching were firefighters, teachers, first responders, anti-vaccine activists and other groups.
“We are gathering together in peace and solidarity for the preservation of personal sovereignty and to STOP medical coercion, discrimination and mandates,” organizers of the march said on the event’s website.
The march came just a week after Washington D.C.’s vaccine mandate, which requires patrons of indoor businesses to show proof of vaccination, took effect, in response to a surge in Covid-19 cases and the highly infectious Omicron variant.
The march also came after US Supreme Court earlier this month blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large businesses amid an increasingly heated nationwide debate on anti-pandemic regulations.
In a 6-3 decision, the conservative-majority in the high court said the White House overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) rule requiring workers at US businesses with 100 or more employees to either get vaccinated or submit a negative Covid-19 test weekly.
The court’s decision came as Americans are becoming intensely divided over coronavirus-related measures, and some are fed up and frustrated by the strain the pandemic has put on daily life.
At a press conference last week, President Joe Biden acknowledged that “there’s a lot of frustration and fatigue in this country” due to the pandemic.
“I know that after almost two years of physical, emotional, and psychological weight of this pandemic, the impact it’s had on everyone, for many of us, it’s been too much to bear,” Biden told reporters.
But Biden insisted that the US has made great progress in the fight against pandemic, and the administration will stick with vaccination efforts “because vaccinations work”.
Nearly a quarter of eligible Americans remain unvaccinated against Covid-19, according to data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said on Sunday he is confident that most states in the country will reach a peak of Omicron infection cases by mid-February.
“You never want to be overconfident when you’re dealing with this virus,” Fauci said in an interview with ABC.
“Things are looking good. We don’t want to get overconfident, but they look like they’re going in the right direction right now,” he said.
The recent Covid-19 surge in the US driven by the Omicron variant is leading to record high cases, hospitalizations, and critical shortages of healthcare staffs.
As of Monday, the country has registered a total of 70,699,416 cases and 866,540 deaths.