This text was beforehand printed June 2, 2020, and has been up to date with new info.
As if vaccine passports, COVID-19 contact tracing apps and obligatory photographs don’t already pose sufficient of a menace to civil liberties and a democratic society, right here looms a invoice, H.R. 6666, the COVID-19 Testing, Reaching And Contacting Everybody (TRACE) Act.1
Whereas the invoice by no means went past the Home Power and Commerce Committee, that doesn’t imply it received’t present up sooner or later with a special identify and presumably much more invasions into our private freedoms reminiscent of obligatory vaccines.
H.R. 6666 was launched and referred to the Home Committee on Power and Commerce by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Unwell., Could 1, 2020. It ended up with 72 cosponsors2 — all Democrats. Initially, there additionally was one Republican, however he withdrew his sponsorship Could 15, 2020. In response to the abstract of the invoice:3
“This invoice authorizes the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) to award grants for testing, contact tracing, monitoring, and different actions to handle COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus illness 2019).
Entities reminiscent of federally certified well being facilities, nonprofit organizations, and sure hospitals and faculties are eligible to obtain such grants. In awarding the grants, the CDC shall prioritize candidates that (1) function in sizzling spots and medically underserved communities, and (2) agree to rent people from the communities the place grant actions happen.”
H.R. 6666 — A ‘Monstrously Unconstitutional’ Invoice
For sure, many an eyebrow was raised over the “6666” within the decision. It appears each unlucky and mockingly apt. As famous by Cheryl Chumley in a Could 12, 2020, Washington Occasions article:4
“Mark of the beast. Mark of the beast for a beastly, monstrously unconstitutional invoice. In spite of everything, what’s extra devilishly un-American than launching one of the large authorities surveillance applications of personal residents in U.S. historical past, all beneath the guise of defending individuals from the coronavirus?”
The federal government grants — a whopping $100 billion of taxpayer cash for 2020 alone — would have been utilized by “eligible entities” to rent staff and purchase the provides wanted to conduct testing and speak to tracing. This consists of sending staff to the residences of residents to conduct COVID-19 testing.
Entities eligible for grant cash included federally certified well being facilities, school-based clinics, disproportionate share hospitals, educational medical facilities, nonprofit organizations, establishments of upper schooling, excessive faculties and every other entities decided to be eligible by the Well being and Human Companies Secretary.
Had it been enacted, should you examined optimistic for COVID-19, you’ll have then been quarantined both at a cell well being unit or in your personal dwelling. Contact tracers would additionally gather details about anybody you will have come into contact with in order that they are often examined and, if wanted, quarantined.
As famous by Chumley, simply how the federal government intends to make sure compliance with quarantine stays an unanswered query. We now know that as much as 80% of people that check optimistic stay asymptomatic,5 and for individuals who really feel advantageous, being locked up, whether or not at dwelling or in a cell unit, for 2 weeks or extra is probably not a welcome proposition at this level.
COVID-19 Does Not Warrant Proposed Monitoring Measures
In a nutshell, H.R. 6666 referred to as for taking $100 billion of our taxpayer cash to fund our personal persecution. I say “persecution,” contemplating this virus isn’t significantly deadly for individuals beneath the age of 80, and has an total survival fee of about 99% and subsequently doesn’t pose a big menace for the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants.
At current, most knowledge are nonetheless unreliable, seeing how “suspected” instances are lumped into mortality statistics. However two conditions for which we now have extra full knowledge counsel the danger from SARS-CoV-2 is minimal.
For instance, of the roughly 4,800 crew on the U.S. plane provider USS Theodore Roosevelt, 840 examined optimistic,6 however 60% have been asymptomatic,7 that means that they had no signs. Just one crewmember died.8
Equally, among the many 3,711 passengers and crew onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 712 (19.2%) examined optimistic for SARS-CoV-2, and of those 46.5% have been asymptomatic on the time of testing. Of these exhibiting signs, solely 9.7% required intensive care and 1.3% (9) died.9
Navy personnel, as you’ll count on, are usually more healthy than the overall inhabitants. Nonetheless, the info from these two incidents reveal a number of vital factors to contemplate. To start with, it means that even when residing in shut, crowded quarters, the an infection fee is low.
Solely 17.5% of the usTheodore Roosevelt crew obtained contaminated — barely decrease than the 19.2% of these onboard the Diamond Princess, which had a larger ratio of older individuals.
Second, match and wholesome people usually tend to be asymptomatic than not — 60% of naval personnel in comparison with 46.5% of civilians onboard the Diamond Princess had no signs regardless of testing optimistic.
‘Devilish’ in Its Substance
Whereas H.R. 6666 is probably not satanic, it’s actually “devilish,” Bob Barr writes in a Could 20, 2020, Marietta Each day Journal op-ed.10 Barr, president and CEO of the Regulation Enforcement Training Basis, is a former U.S. Congressman for Georgia’s Seventh District.
“Make no mistake … the invoice is a harmful piece of laws, not due to its quantity, however due to its substance,” Barr writes. “It’s the newest in an extended line of legislative autos … to extend the federal authorities’s energy to assemble and database non-public info on residents …
On this newest effort, Home Democrats have employed the tradecraft for which the Congress has grow to be notoriously adept — hiding the true function of laws behind a façade of defending individuals from a identified or perceived hazard …
The particular provisions inside H.R. 6666 pose a really actual hazard; not solely as a stand-alone invoice … however as a potential modification that might be slipped into the latest, large COVID-19 ‘stimulus’ invoice that handed the Home final week.
The administration already has signaled help for some model of a Section IV aid bundle, and no matter that last doc appears like, it’s sure to be lengthy and complex, making it an ideal car wherein to cover a provision for ‘contact tracing’ related maybe to what Rush’s TRACE Act would do …
These of us who’re involved concerning the progress of presidency surveillance and data-basing of private info have to be vigilant towards measures just like the TRACE Act, no matter their floor attraction. We should demand the Congress and the Administration aggressively oppose any such measures.”
WARNING: Apple, Android Updates Embody API for Tracing Apps
Contemplating that iPhone and Android updates after the pandemic started make the telephones contact-tracing prepared, the invoice has, in pragmatic phrases, already come to cross.
As reported by Apple,11 their iOS 13.5 replace contained a built-in Publicity Notifications API, which can “permit governments and public well being companies to develop apps that provide you with a warning should you’ve come into contact with somebody who later checks optimistic for Covid-19 and that individual anonymously logs their optimistic end result right into a database.”
API stands for “software programming interface.”12 It’s primarily a set of capabilities that permit apps to entry sure knowledge or options of the working system. That mentioned, you’ll nonetheless should obtain a contact tracing app as a way to take part in a contact tracing program, in line with an Apple consultant.13
HR 6666 Units Us on a Harmful Path
As detailed by the Nationwide Vaccine Info Middle (NVIC) in an “Motion Alert” emailed to customers of NVIC’s Advocacy Portal:14
“H.R. 6666 is a federal funding invoice. It proposes to create a surveillance infrastructure that can be utilized by the federal authorities, in addition to native and state governments and personal companies, to require medical testing and monitoring of all residents.
That is in violation of elementary civil liberties as set forth within the Invoice of Rights, which embrace the primary 10 amendments to the U.S. Structure designed to guard particular person rights and restrict the ability of the federal government.
H.R. 6666 lacks safeguards and situations associated to funding of the proposed surveillance operation to forestall it from being utilized to intrusive applications mandating testing and surveillance with out a person’s voluntary consent.
If this laws is handed by Congress and enacted into regulation, it may result in denial of a person’s proper to look in public areas and journey; the correct to employment and schooling or participation in government-funded providers, and the correct to obtain care in a authorities funded hospital or different every other medical facility.
H.R. 6666 particularly permits for funded entities to dwelling quarantine an individual towards their will, even whereas they’re wholesome. As soon as a vaccine is obtainable, the testing and tracing outcomes doubtlessly might be used to pressure people to be injected with a COVID-19 vaccine towards their will.”
As famous by NVIC, whereas the invoice specifies that “Nothing on this part shall be construed to supersede any Federal privateness or confidentiality requirement, together with the rules promulgated beneath part 264(c) of the Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act of 1996,” H.R. 6666 on no account ensures privateness.
HIPAA “has all the time allowed disclosure of personal well being info to authorities officers and different authorities permitted entities together with international governments with out the information or consent of the person for the aim of conducting public well being surveillance, investigations or interventions,” NVIC writes.15
Public Well being Disaster Does Not Droop Invoice of Rights
NVIC additionally highlights the truth that the Invoice of Rights within the U.S. Structure can’t be suspended or ignored by state or federal authorities throughout public well being emergencies.
As famous by the U.S. Division of Justice in a latest Assertion of Curiosity in Assist of Plaintiffs within the case of Temple Baptist Church towards the Metropolis of Greenville and its mayor, which banned drive-in church providers and slapped attendees with fines:16
“There isn’t any pandemic exception, nonetheless, to the basic liberties the Structure safeguards. Certainly, ‘particular person rights secured by the Structure don’t disappear throughout a public well being disaster.’
In re Abbott, — F.3d —, 2020 WL 1685929, at *6 (fifth Cir. Apr. 7, 2020). These particular person rights, together with the protections within the Invoice of Rights made relevant to the states by means of the Fourteenth Modification, are all the time in pressure and restrain authorities motion.”
Certainly, H.R. 6666 “units the stage for a number of violations of our constitutional rights,” NVIC notes, together with the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Ninth amendments:
• The Fourth Modification17 proper of Americans is to be safe of their individuals, homes, papers and results towards unreasonable searches and seizures. As defined by NVIC:
“The invoice doesn’t permit people to train their Constitutional proper to be secure of their houses free from warrantless authorities intrusion, and doesn’t present for voluntary refusal of testing and monitoring by a authorities funded entity.
The invoice additionally doesn’t set forth how the contacts of individuals with COVID-19 will probably be traced and whether or not the Constitutional rights of these contaminated with COVID-19, in addition to their contacts, will probably be upheld.”
• The Fifth Modification18 of the U.S. Structure ensures that no individual shall be disadvantaged of life, liberty or property, with out due technique of regulation.
“This laws gives authorities funding of entities that can implement testing and doubtlessly implement vaccination of wholesome people, who’re suspected of getting come into contact with COVID-19 optimistic individuals whether or not or not they’re exhibiting signs, with out requiring the voluntary consent of the person,” NVIC writes.
• The Eighth Modification19 prohibits merciless and weird punishment of residents. On this case, as famous by NVIC:
“The proposed regulation gives authorities funding to entities that can create and implement applications that hint, monitor and help the enforced quarantine of wholesome people, who’re suspected of coming into contact with COVID-19 individuals, whether or not or not they’re exhibiting signs and whether or not or not they could already be immune.”
• The ninth Modification20 of the U.S. Structure bestows upon the individuals rights not particularly set forth within the Structure.
“H.R. 6666 gives funding for entities to create and implement undefined ‘associated actions’ to COVID-19 testing and unnamed ‘different functions.’”
Take Motion As we speak!
“H.R. 6666 must be opposed as a result of it gives federal funding to entities to create and implement unrestricted surveillance, testing, tracing and quarantine mechanisms and has no set finish date. There may be merely no option to know what number of inalienable rights protected beneath the U.S. Structure might be infringed upon or taken away from residents if this invoice turns into regulation,” NVIC says.
Whereas this invoice died within the Home Power and Commerce Committee, that doesn’t imply it received’t reappear in one other kind, one other time, in an upcoming session — and it doesn’t assure that the following invoice will die in committee as effectively.
So, I urge you to take motion immediately and assist us cease nasty payments like this. Keep involved together with your U.S. congressional consultant and ask them to vote towards something resembling H.R. 6666, the “COVID–19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everybody (TRACE) Act.”
Be at liberty to pick out a couple of salient factors to personalize your message. Understand that many staffers are nonetheless working remotely, so be ready to depart a coherent cellphone message.
If you happen to’re uncertain who your consultant is, or don’t have their contact info, you possibly can look them up on the NVIC’s Advocacy Portal. Simply enter your zip code and click on on the names listed to get their contact info. If you happen to occur to dwell close to a district workplace, you may additionally contemplate establishing an extended cellphone name, video chat or face-to-face assembly together with your consultant or workers.
The nonprofit Nationwide Vaccine Info Middle (NVIC) is the most important and oldest consumer-led group within the U.S. disseminating info on vaccines and infectious illnesses and advocating for defense of the authorized proper to make voluntary vaccination selections. NVIC researches and publishes referenced info you possibly can belief and use for speaking factors while you converse together with your legislators.
I urge you to register as a person of the free on-line NVIC Advocacy Portal so you possibly can obtain well timed e mail Motion Alerts from NVIC tailor-made to your state and entry state and federal laws motion gadgets and updates on the Portal web site. NVIC consistently opinions and updates the standing of pending vaccine-related payments so you possibly can take motion to guard your rights.
“Payments can change many instances over the legislative course of and your well timed visits, calls, and emails directed on the appropriate legislators are important to this course of,” NVIC writes. Lastly, take a second to ahead this article to your family and friends, and ask them to share their considerations with their elected representatives as effectively.