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‘We have hurt enough in the Senate’: why Joe Manchin will not move on filibuster

Q: The Democratic Party thought it could take over the Senate this year, and there’s still a chance that will happen if you get both seats in Georgia. But to pass major legislation, one would have to either gain Republican support or kill the filibuster. You have long opposed the elimination of filibuster. Why is that?

A: I can assure you that I will not vote to end filibuster because it will break the Senate. We have done enough damage to the Senate with the nuclear option on the judges. We make life appointments by simple majority. The minority should have a say – that is the whole purpose of the Senate. If you completely remove filibustering laws, you will not have the Senate. You are a glorified house. And I won’t do that.

Q: So there is no problem where you would agree to end the filibuster? Let’s say there’s a badly needed new coronavirus stimulus package and Republicans won’t strike a deal.

A: No. If we can’t come together to help America, God help us. If you have to blow up the Senate to do the right thing, then we have the wrong people in the Senate, or we have the people who do not talk to each other. You know, I always said this: Chuck Schumer, with his personality, he will speak to anyone and everyone. You can work with Chuck. Chuck will try everything he can to try and engage with Mitch again.

Q: Are there other issues where you could draw a line in the sand and stand up to other members of your party?

A: I did this. I was that vote for Brett Kavanaugh. I thought there must be evidence, and I never saw it. The country was in a binge eating. And there was no Democrat who was going to resist it. I said, ‘I’m not going to ruin a person’s life because there’s no proof.’

And wouldn’t it be so fitting for him to vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act? God, oh my God. Redemption! Is there any redemption here? He and I had a long conversation, and I basically said, ‘I beg you and your inner conscience whenever this comes to you I want you to think of 800,000 Western Virginians who couldn’t obtain insurance previously because of a pre-existing condition. I want you to think of 160,000 Western Virginians who were so poor they had nothing.

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For Manchin, a divided Senate is a ‘golden opportunity’ for action

WASHINGTON – A year ago, Joe Manchin III was ready to leave.

As the most conservative Senate Democrat, he saw nothing but dysfunction and inaction when he looked around Capitol Hill. “This place sucks,” he has said repeatedly. As he has often done since arriving in Washington, he openly considered leaving to try to resume his old job: Governor of West Virginia.

Instead, he stayed for a second term. Now, as President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. prepares to rule from the middle in a Congress whose slim majority will force him to compromise on nearly every priority, Mr. Manchin, a centrist, suddenly finds himself in the center of relevance in the nation’s capital.

In his office one recent afternoon, sitting near a framed quote from President John F. Kennedy highlighting the independence of the political party, Manchin, 73, felt energized. He leafed through a proposal he was developing for a new coronavirus relief deal and said he envisioned a more moderate course for Congress.

“I think we have a golden opportunity to bring the country together and work in the middle,” Manchin said enthusiastically. “I’ll explain why: the numbers are so close to what the Democratic deputies lost. For Nancy Pelosi, she’s going to have to work with people who have a more moderate outlook than some of the people who pushed her to the left.

If Democrats are able to win two rounds in Georgia in January and take control of the Senate, any plans to enact a liberal agenda – such as increasing the number of Supreme Court justices – will have to go through Mr Manchin. . Likewise, if Republicans win at least one of Georgia’s races, allowing them to maintain control of the Senate, they’ll need centrists from both parties to help block progressive elements or pass compromise legislation.

This is the situation Mr Manchin said he considered more likely. He’s already gearing up for a power dynamic that he says would give him and three moderate Republicans – Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah – a big role in determining what’s happening on the eve of Mr. Biden’s presidency.

With vice president-elect Kamala Harris with the power to sever ties, Manchin noted that it would only take two Republican defections to give Democrats a majority on any given measure.

“It’s up to everyone to start working together,” he said. “If they don’t, it doesn’t take many of us to say, ‘Guys, we gave you all a chance. We haven’t done our job for 10 years and we’re going to start. “

In recent days, Mr Manchin has worked to corral support for a new coronavirus stimulus package, touring the Capitol, asking colleagues in what price range they were comfortable and leading his chief of staff, Lance West, to write proposals. Mr Manchin said he thought about $ 1.2 billion might be okay to finally reach a deal – about half of what his party leaders were asking for ahead of the election.

He spoke to a bipartisan group of senators to try to strike a deal. They include the three moderate Republicans, as well as Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana; Senator Angus King, independent from Maine; and Democratic Senators Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Mark Warner of Virginia.

“Something has to be done before Joe Biden becomes president,” Manchin said. “There are people who will not reach February or March.”

He is also ready to fight with the progressive left, whose anger he has drawn when, in an interview this month, he answered a question about calls by some liberals to dispel the police, saying: “Defund, my butt. “

In response, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive brand of New York, posted a photo on Twitter of his gloomy gaze on Mr. Manchin as he applauded President Trump’s second State of the Union address.

“I guess she put the dagger gaze on me,” Mr. Manchin said. “I don’t know the young woman – really not. I have never met her. I understand that she is not very active with her bills or in committee. She’s more active on Twitter than anything else. “

It amounts to a sharp insult in a chamber where legislative prowess is appreciated. Mr Manchin said he will stand firmly against the agenda his party’s left flank is pushing.

“We are not going to cancel police funding, we are not for the new green deal,” he said. “It’s not going to happen. We’re not for Medicare for All – we can’t even pay Medicare for some.”

Mr Manchin is also a strong opponent of another step for which progressives have advocated, having spoken strongly against a move to change Senate rules so that the majority can pass legislation with a vote of 51, rather than to require bills to meet a 60-vote threshold to move forward. If Democrats gain control of the chamber, the change would allow Mr. Biden to bypass the Republican opposition and push through his political priorities.

“I can assure you that I will not vote to end the filibuster because it will break the Senate,” Manchin said. “If you have to blow up the Senate to do the right thing, then we have the wrong people in the Senate.

Instead, Mr Manchin said he and a group of like-minded senators in both parties – including many with whom he is discussing a new relief program – were considering a different rule change for empower the base. Their idea is to allow any bill approved by a committee with bipartisan support to go to the prosecution. It would dilute the unilateral power of the majority leader – currently Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky – to control what to do.

“Before we know for sure who will be the majority leader, we should change the way the Senate should operate,” Manchin said of the proposal, which is extremely unlikely to succeed.

Still, John C. Kilwein, the chairman of West Virginia University’s political science department, said Manchin would be “incredibly important” in the event of a 50-50 Senate. His positions will also serve as a useful cover for Mr. Biden and Senator Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat and Minority Leader, against criticism they may face for not fully embracing the Progressive agenda.

“He has already dashed the hopes of progressives to get rid of the filibuster and clear the court,” Kilwein said.

In some ways, Mr. Manchin is a throwback to a bygone era. A gun owner who grew up in the small town of Farmington, W.Va., and lives on a houseboat in Washington, he keeps photos of children killed in the Sandy Elementary School shooting Hook 2012 on his office wall. Teaming up with Republican Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Manchin attempted in 2013 to develop modest gun safety measures to prevent such massacres from happening again, but their efforts stalled in the midst. of the bipartisan opposition.

He often says he learned to govern with “common sense” by watching officials in a small town grapple with problems such as putting on or putting out a traffic light.

Charles S. Trump IV, a Republican senator from the state of West Virginia who has known Mr. Manchin for three decades and is unrelated to the president, said the senator took after his uncle A. James Manchin, an “icon of West Virginia politics.” “The elder Mr. Manchin was an entertaining politician who rid the state countryside of thousands of abandoned cars and old tires.

As the state’s rural working-class white voters – who once voted Democrats in part because of close union ties – moved to the right, few Democrats could continue to win in West Virginia . The president has won the state by almost 40 percentage points this year. But Mr Manchin retained his seat in 2018, surviving the most difficult re-election challenge of his career, in part thanks to the trust he has built with voters over decades.

Mr Trump, the state senator, recalled how Mr Manchin, as governor, cut short a trip in 2006 to attend the Sugar Bowl in Atlanta, where he planned to cheer on university climbers from West Virginia, when there was a mining disaster in his country.

“He went straight home,” Mr. Trump said. “He knew it would be important for people during a crisis to have him there.

This year, Mr Manchin crossed party lines when he became the only Democratic senator to endorse Ms Collins in her fourth re-election attempt against a strong challenger, Sara Gideon, whom many in Congress expected to win. When Ms Collins defied the polls, Mr Manchin was one of the first to call and praise her.

“He’s brave,” Ms. Collins said. “I admire that he does the things he believes to be right, even though he is very upset by the Democratic leader for it.

Ms Collins said she looked forward to working with Mr Manchin on issues such as lowering prescription drug prices and a vast array of infrastructure. But the obstacles are considerable, with powerful groups on both sides of the political spectrum “demanding 100% respect” for their views, she said.

Ms Murkowski said she hoped a functioning Senate was not “a pipe dream of a bygone era”.

“For those of us who are most in the moderate camp, this is a very important role that needs to be played, and I look forward to playing a role in it,” she said. “I’m tired of the bitter partisan divide we’ve seen. I want to try to understand how we rule again for the whole country, not just for Republicans.

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Florida man rescued after hours hanging from capsized boat

A Florida man who had gone missing at sea was found clinging to his capsized boat on Sunday morning about 86 miles off Port Canaveral, officials said.

Some time after midnight Sunday, the man, Stuart Bee, was sleeping on his 32-foot Sea Ray, called the Sting Ray, when he was abruptly awakened by the water rushing into the forward cabin of the boat, the master said. First Class David Micallef. , spokesperson for the US Coast Guard.

The boat “filled with water almost immediately,” said master mariner Micallef, adding that the ship capsized quickly and the force of the water “pushed it out of the front hatch”.

For hours Mr Bee, 62, clung to four feet from the bow of the boat that was above the water. Then after sunrise, Mr. Bee noticed a ship in the distance, so he took off his shirt and started waving it to get the crew’s attention. He lost his glasses in the process.

Members of the crew of Angeles, a 225-meter Liberian container ship en route to Wilmington, Delaware, saw Mr. Bee at around 11 a.m. and got close enough to throw a used lifebuoy at him to pull him up a ladder to bring him aboard the ship. .

Rather than asking the Coast Guard to come pick him up, Mr Bee decided to stay aboard the Angeles, which is expected to arrive in Wilmington on Tuesday.

“He’s just excited to be alive,” said Master Petty Officer Micallef. “I think he’s in a good mood.”

Mr Bee left Cape Marina in Port Canaveral on Friday for what was supposed to be a short cruise on the water. He apparently decided to sleep the night on the boat, which was not typical, according to a marina employee. He was reported missing by the marina and his brother the next day, master petty officer Micallef said.

The Coast Guard and the United States Customs and Border Patrol both dispatched aircraft and asked area boats to keep watch on Mr. Bee.

After his first night on the water, Mr Bee told the Coast Guard, his boat was taken out of service after a mechanical failure on Saturday, which he tried and failed to repair himself, a declared the master mariner Micallef. The Coast Guard did not receive any radio transmissions from him asking for help.

“This case, honestly, is an incredible result,” said Master Mariner Micallef. “I think this demonstrates the close ties the maritime community has with one another. We are grateful that he can soon be on dry land. “

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Iowa officials are expected to certify that a Republican won a House seat by six votes.

There is a close election, then an incredibly close election. A state canvassing board in Iowa is expected to certify Monday that Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, won an open seat in Congress by just six votes.

If the board certifies the results, after a recount that narrowed the race down from Ms Miller-Meeks’ lead on Nov. 12 out of 47 votes, Democratic candidate Rita Hart is likely to challenge the result before a judicial panel .

Ms Hart’s campaign manager Zach Meunier said over the weekend, after all counties in the district completed the accounts, that Ms Hart would reconsider the state council’s decision “with a view to ensuring that all voices in Iowa are fully and fairly heard.

Ms Miller-Meeks, a state senator making her fourth congressional run, declared victory after accounts from 24 counties in the district. A victory for her would further erode the Democrats’ majority in the House, after Republicans spilled a net of at least nine seats previously held by Democrats.

The Hart campaign said the six-vote margin was the thinnest in any congressional race since 1984, when an Indiana race narrowed to just four votes.

Both candidates attended the orientation in Washington for new members of Congress as the race – to replace an outgoing Democrat, Rep. Dave Loebsack – was undecided.

Although numerous Iowa polls have shown Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats to be competitive ahead of the election, the party suffered heavy losses in the state. President Trump increased it by 8.2 percentage points. And in Iowa’s First District, Representative Abby Finkenauer, a first-term Democrat, was ousted by Ashley Hinson, a Republican.

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Biden begins receiving briefings as president-elect.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received their first comprehensive intelligence briefings since the election on Monday, transition officials said.

While briefings for presidents-elect typically begin shortly after elections, the presentation of the president’s daily newsletter to Mr Biden and Ms Harris has been delayed as the Trump administration postponed the start of the transition.

Mr Biden received briefings during the campaign, but they focused mainly on foreign threats to the election. The President’s Daily Summary will give Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris a much broader look at threats to national security in the United States.

Distribution of the daily brief is at the sole discretion of the President. Shortly after the General Service Administration approved the formal transition process that was scheduled to begin on November 24, the White House approved Mr. Biden’s receipt of the daily brief. The logistics of setting up the classified sessions postponed their start until Monday, according to a Trump administration official.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence assigns an individual briefer to each senior official who receives a version of the daily brief. This briefer shapes the presentation based on the needs of the senior official or, in this case, the new president.

Mr Biden and Ms Harris each received in-person briefings from an intelligence official. They will also have access to the briefing itself, a more detailed and comprehensive classified intelligence document, which is delivered on a secure tablet.

Mr. Biden will have to wait until he is in the White House to make big changes to the case, setting collection or analysis priorities for intelligence agencies. Nonetheless, the transition briefings will allow intelligence agencies to begin to get a feel for the kinds of questions Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris are asking themselves and the current direction of their foreign policy.

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Major winter storm brings snow, heavy rain and wind to east coast

The first major winter storm of the season is expected to bring heavy snowfall, widespread rains and “heavy to severe” thunderstorms on the East Coast through Wednesday, National Weather Service forecasters said. Some areas were already experiencing scattered power outages.

Heavy rains were possible across New England from Monday evening through Tuesday, and heavy snowfall was likely from the lower Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley on Monday evening and Tuesday, as forecasters monitored the strong system storms that were causing “widespread bad weather” across the eastern United States, the National Weather Service said Monday.

Snow is expected to start falling at 1 a.m. Tuesday in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia, with accumulations estimated at four to seven inches, according to the National Weather Service. Winter storm warnings in these areas will remain in effect until 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Warnings were also issued for the same period for Garrett County, Md., Where about four to eight inches of snow was expected. The mountains of eastern Tennessee could also see two to eight inches until noon Tuesday.

Snow was expected to cover parts of north-central and northeastern Ohio, where storm warnings were in effect from 7 p.m. Monday to 10 a.m. Wednesday.

“Travel could be very difficult,” the National Weather Service said of conditions in southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and Garrett County, Maryland. “Dangerous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.”

Heavy snowfall was also forecast for southern Lake Erie in northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania, where nine inches of snow could fall.

“The snow is expected to reach as far south as the higher elevations of the southern Appalachians under a cold, blustery northwest wind as a result of the storm,” according to the Weather Service.

Georgia also received a winter storm warning from 5 p.m. Monday to 7 a.m. Tuesday, as snow showers are expected to fall about two inches in the northern and northeastern parts of the state. “Expect slippery road conditions,” the National Weather Service said.

The storm is expected to strengthen and grow through Monday evening, producing high winds with heavy rain reaching New England.

Wind gusts and damaging tornadoes could accompany scattered thunderstorms from parts of Florida to the Carolinas and southern New Jersey until 6 p.m. Monday.

In the New York metropolitan area, the storm will bring heavy rain and high winds. “It’s a low pressure system that travels up the East Coast,” said James Tomasini, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s office in Upton, NY, which oversees the Hudson Valley, New York, Long Island and the north. -est of New Jersey. “The biggest thing with this system is the heavy rain and the winds. ”

He said wind advisories were issued Monday morning for Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens as well as for southern Connecticut. Peak sustained winds were estimated at 25 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts between 45 and 55 mph

Mr. Tomasini added that Long Island can see up to 1.5 inches of rain and Connecticut, up to two inches of rain.

“Almost the whole region will experience heavy rains,” he said.

The storm was already causing scattered blackouts. About 600 customers of New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group were without power as of Monday afternoon, company spokeswoman Rebecca Mazzarella said.

PPL Electric Utilities had about 1,250 customers in Pennsylvania without power as of Monday, according to the company. And FirstEnergy had more than 2,000 customers in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey without power.

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Prisons are Covid-19 hotbeds. When should prisoners get vaccinated?

The United States holds some 2.3 million people in jails, prisons and other detention centers, incarcerating more people per capita than any other country. This includes nearly 500,000 people who have not been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. (Some prisons have taken steps to reduce overcrowding since the start of the pandemic.)

This figure also includes some 44,000 young people detained in institutions for minors and around 42,000 in detention centers for migrants.

Those detained are particularly vulnerable to the virus. People in prison are four times more likely to be infected than people in the general population, according to a study by the Criminal Justice Commission. Overall, Covid-19 death rates among inmates are higher than among the general population.

So far, at least 200,000 inmates have already been infected with Covid-19, and at least 1,450 inmates and correctional officers have died from the virus, according to a database maintained by the New York Times.

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These numbers likely underestimate the scale of the problem, as reporting requirements are uneven and vary from state to state, said Dr Tom Inglesby, infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and another co-author of the vaccine. allocation report.

In Connecticut, doctors tested more than 10,000 prisoners in state prisons and prisons from March through June and found that 13% were infected with the coronavirus, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Inmates who lived in dormitories were most at risk. Older inmates and Latino inmates were also more likely than others to be infected.

Even before the pandemic, many older inmates were in poor health after decades of “hard living,” said Dr. Charles Lee, president-elect of the American College of Correctional Physicians.

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Video: Cuomo announces new phase in ‘war on Covid’

TimesVideoCuomo announces a new phase in the “war on Covid’Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York on Monday announced a series of emergency measures to tackle the rise in hospitalizations and the number of coronavirus cases, according to Reuters.

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Smithsonian Archives of American Art collects oral history from 2020

As the pandemic began this spring, historians and curators at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art began to do what they do best: browse the relics of history.

They found little information on the 1918 influenza pandemic in their records and decided to make sure future historians had a lot more information about this time of the coronavirus. A team from the Archives of American Art, led by Liza Kirwin, its acting director, set out to create a complete dossier for posterity.

Starting last spring, archival curators and oral historians conducted Zoom interviews with 85 artists to create the “Pandemic Oral History Project”. The first round of interviews, which includes artists such as Ed Bereal and Sheila Hicks, was released on Monday.

“It started at the beginning of May and we were only thinking about Covid-19,” said Ben Gillespie, Arlene and Robert Kogod secretariat for oral history. Then, with the news of the Breonna Taylor and George Floyd murders, he said, “We also realized that this was such an important moment in American history that we really have to hold on to.

While there are a lot of things that represent 2020 – weird objects, ephemeral items related to the pandemic, photographs collected by many or put on social media – this Smithsonian oral history project also offers a guarantee: the recordings are supposed to last.

The project is unusual for a group of archivists who typically work on long, in-depth, documentary-quality interviews that delve into the past – these sessions are all on Zoom and last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. But working quickly to preserve the present also allowed staff to see this year with fresh eyes.

“Time, for me, felt completely empty,” Gillespie said. “It’s like the story no longer exists and I’m just like, swirling in an amorphous aether.”

Josh Franco, the national archives collector, said that because he typically worked with older artists, browsing personal collections and studios to find moments to preserve, this project offered a welcome challenge.

“We understood that we are making a record and that it has something to do with the great arc of time,” said Franco, “but it’s also right, in the moment, that people are talking and panicking together. .

Mark Bradford, a Los Angeles-based contemporary artist who was involved in the project, spent part of his interview comparing this year to a huge storm.

“It’s like a great downpour of rain,” Mr Bradford said in his video. “And you know you run down the street, and get wet, and then every once in a while you come across a basement or something, and you stay there for a minute?”

“Sometimes you look to the left and there will be someone with you,” he said. “And you say, ‘What are you Make?’ and you have a little chat.

Ms Kirwin said: “For me it was like a metaphor for the whole project.”

“It was like we were hiding under a canopy with people and having this kind of exchange at the time,” she said, “knowing that there is a torrential rainstorm and that everyone will get wet. But they had this moment when they connected.

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Oregon nurse is put on leave for mocking video masks TikTok

Oregon nurse who mocked state pandemic protocols in a video that circulated on TikTok saying she does not wear a mask in public has been put on administrative leave, her employer said .

The nurse, who has not been named, is an employee of Salem Health, which operates Salem Health Hospital in Salem, Ore., And other medical facilities treating Covid-19 patients in the state, which has had at least 74,120 cases and 907 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database.

Salem Health said in a statement that members of the public alerted the company to the video, which it said showed “cavalier disregard for the severity of this pandemic.” Local media reported that the nurse, who worked in the oncology unit, posted the video from a TikTok account which has since been deleted and the video was later reposted as a “duo” version on the platform.

The video shows the nurse wearing scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck, with a caption saying she doesn’t wear a mask in public, arranges play dates for her children and continues to travel.

The nurse could not be reached on Monday. KPTV reported that she declined to be interviewed when a reporter visited her home.

“Yesterday, a nurse employed by Salem Health posted a video on social media that showed cavalier disregard for the severity of this pandemic and her indifference to physical distancing and masking outside of work,” said Salem Health in her statement, which she posted on Facebook. the Saturday.

Credit…@ Loveiskind05 via TikTok

“This video caused an uproar from concerned members of the community,” the health system said. “We would like to thank those of you who have brought this to our attention and assure you that we take this very seriously. This person does not speak for Salem Health and has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The health care system has not identified the nurse. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The healthcare system’s Facebook post drew more than 1,000 comments, including from people who said they had relatives in the hospital. Some called for the nurse’s dismissal, while others questioned the difference between state mandates in private and public spaces.

“Is there a law in Oregon that medical professionals must wear a mask when off the clock and out of the hospital?” one reader wrote, adding that the video was “very irresponsible and shows no compassion for people who have experienced covid.”

As officials have done in other states to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has imposed tough measures, with a two-week freeze on many activities from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2. and limiting gatherings to six people from no more than two households. Oregon also has a statewide mask mandate.

Salem Health said it requires its staff, patients and visitors to follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These guidelines include washing your hands, wearing masks that cover your mouth and nose when around other people, and social distancing, which she says are effective methods of slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Referring to the video, the company said, “This reckless statement does not reflect the position of Salem Health or the hardworking and dedicated caregivers who work here.”

“The Covid pandemic is serious and requires a serious response,” the company added. “And at Salem Health, we take our approach to Covid very seriously.”