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U.S. coronavirus quarantine shortened to 5 days… Biden signs defense authorization bill

It is the time of ‘America Now’ that delivers vivid American news.

Moderator) What news do you have today?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has relaxed guidelines, including reducing the quarantine period for those who have been infected with the novel coronavirus and those who have been in close contact with them from 10 days to 5 days. President Joe Biden signed the Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) worth $768 billion. The latest polls show that the Republicans have elected Ronald Reagan and former Presidents Donald Trump as the best-working US Presidents of the past 40 years, while the Democrats have elected former President Barack Obama.

Host) This is the first news of ‘America Now’. The US health authorities have significantly relaxed quarantine recommendations related to the novel coronavirus infection?

Reporter) Yes. On the 27th, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) significantly shortened the self-quarantine period for people infected with Corona and in close contact with them from 10 days to 5 days.

Moderator) There must be a background for the CDC to make this decision, right?

Reporter) Yes. The CDC’s decision is based on the evidence that the transmission power of a person infected with the coronavirus is strongest two days before symptoms appear and three days after symptoms appear. The CDC said, “The quarantine period has been adjusted as it has been scientifically proven that the transmission of the corona usually occurs 1-2 days before symptoms and 2-3 days after symptoms, which are the initial stages.” In addition, this decision is known to have taken into account the spread of the omicron mutant virus.

Moderator) Are you saying that the omicron mutation does not pose a serious risk?

Reporter) Yes. However, the transmission power is so strong that the number of confirmed cases is increasing rapidly. As a result, the number of quarantined persons is also increasing significantly. This situation is especially burdensome for the hotel and airline industries.

Host) Actually, at this time yesterday, did I tell you that the airline industry is experiencing great difficulties, such as large-scale cancellations due to a shortage of manpower due to the spread of Omicron?

Reporter) That’s right. The CDC has issued this guidance amid predictions that the aviation crisis will continue until the end of the year. CDC Director Rochelle Wallenski told the Associated Press on the 27th that “not all infected people have severe symptoms, and in fact, many people have no symptoms,” referring to the spread of Omicron in the United States. “We want to ensure that there are tools that are scientifically grounded and yet enable society to function safely,” Wallansky said.

Moderator) Is this the first time the health authorities have eased quarantine guidelines?

reporter) No. Earlier, last week, the CDC reduced the quarantine period for healthcare workers who tested positive for coronavirus from ten days to one week. However, it was premised on the premise that the test was negative and there were no symptoms, but if there is a severe shortage of medical personnel, the quarantine period may be reduced to 5 days.

Moderator) But now, are you saying that the quarantine period will be reduced for all people, not just medical workers?

Reporter) That’s right. The CDC’s new guidelines are recommendations to state and local authorities and businesses, but not mandatory. But even before the new guidelines came out, several states had moved to shorten the quarantine period. New York State last week said it would expand CDC quarantine guidelines for healthcare workers to other essential industries, citing a severe workforce shortage. “The uniform guidance from the CDC will help,” Wallansky said.

Moderator) Then, even if they are infected with Corona, can anyone live freely after only 5 days?

Reporter) If you look closely at the CDC guidelines, it is a bit complicated. First of all, quarantine for people infected with Corona applies regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not. And after five days of quarantine, if there are no symptoms, you can return to your daily life. But for five days, you must wear a mask anywhere, including at home. And if it’s been five days since you’ve been quarantined and you still have symptoms of Corona, you should isolate yourself at home until your condition improves. After that, you can return to your daily life, but you must always wear a mask.

Moderator) What happens to people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of Corona?

Reporter) If you come in contact with a person infected with Corona, but do not test positive and have no symptoms, you are also asked to wear a mask for 5 days after quarantine for 5 days. There is no need to isolate if you have completed booster shots, that is, booster vaccinations, but it is recommended that you wear a mask in all places for 10 days.

Moderator) So, even if the quarantine period is reduced, do you have to wear a mask?

Reporter) That’s right, because quarantine for 5 days does not completely eliminate the risk of infection. Director Wallansky also emphasized that the most important part of the CDC guidelines is wearing a mask.

Moderator) President Joe Biden met with the governors on the same day to respond to the spread of Omicron?

Reporter) Yes. On the 27th, he held a videoconference with the governors at the White House to discuss ways to contain the spread of Corona. It was at this point that President Biden suggested shortening the quarantine period, followed by guidance from the CDC. President Biden also commented on the shortage of coronavirus test kits and said the government would speed up.

Moderator) As the number of infected people increases, more test kits are needed, but it seems that the supply is not good?

Reporter) Yes. Earlier, President Biden announced that he would provide 500 million coronavirus test kits to help enable faster testing. But President Biden said, “Last weekend I saw people struggling to get tested for the coronavirus, and I knew there was more work to be done.” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican who attended the videoconference, also emphasized that the shortage of coronavirus test kits is a ‘real crisis’.

What other conversations did President Biden have with the governors?

President Biden has said that there is no federal solution to the coronavirus crisis and that it must be addressed at the state level. However, he emphasized that there is no need to fall into chaos just because a confirmed person returns, and emphasized that now is the time of the first spread of Corona, “It is different from March 2020.”

Moderator) In this way, the government and state governments are doing their best to respond to the corona virus.

Reporter) Yes. A confirmed case occurred on a US Navy battleship where all crew members had been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The Associated Press, citing naval officials, said about 20 people, or about 25 percent of the crew of the battleship Milwaukee, had tested positive for coronavirus.

Moderator) If so, are you having difficulties in carrying out the operation?

Reporter) Yes. The Milwaukee left Florida on the 14th to conduct operations in the Caribbean. Last week, I stopped at the Port of Guantanamo, Cuba, and was stuck because of a confirmed case, and I am unable to depart again. Meanwhile, another battleship, the Halsey, was delayed from sailing earlier this month as some of its crew members tested positive for the coronavirus.

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a video briefing on COVID-19 with governors at the White House on the 27th.

Host) America Now, the next news. Did President Joe Biden sign the Defense Authorization Act?

Reporter) Yes. President Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on the 27th, reflecting the military spending plan for fiscal year 2022. President Biden said in a statement that “This legislation provides important benefits to military personnel and their families and increases access to justice.” “It also includes the authority necessary to support the national defense of our country,” he said.

Moderator) What kind of law did President Biden explain this way to the National Defense Authorization Act?

Reporter) The Defense Authorization Act deals with overall defense policies, including the defense budget. It is a law that specifies and formulates a defense policy along with the national security issues facing the United States, and each year Congress must pass a new Defense Authorization Act. And when the president signs it, it becomes legal. The bill, which was overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives earlier this month, was also passed in the Senate on the 15th with an 88 to 11 vote in favor.

Moderator) How big is the National Defense Authorization Act this year?

Reporter: $768 billion, about $25 billion more than President Biden’s original request. This is an increase of 5% compared to the previous fiscal year.

Moderator) How did the defense budget go?

Reporter) It includes a 2.7% increase in the salaries of soldiers. A large amount of budget was invested mainly in strengthening military response capabilities against China and Russia. A budget of $7.1 billion was prepared for deterrence initiatives in the Indo-Pacific region. It included parliamentary support for the defense of Taiwan, which is in dispute with China in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, and measures to counter China’s influence in the region.

Moderator) What about Russia?

Reporter) A budget of $300 million has been allocated to support the security of Ukraine, where tensions are rising due to the deployment of troops in the border region with Russia. A budget of $4 billion has been allocated to the European Security Initiative.

Moderator) How was the number of U.S. forces in Korea that drew attention related to the Korean Peninsula determined?

Reporter) Yes. The bill maintains the current level of 28,500 U.S. forces in Korea, noting that it must strengthen alliances in the Indo-Pacific region to compete strategically with China.

Moderator) Now that the National Defense Authorization Act is signed by the president, it has legal effect. How do both the Democratic and Republican parties react?

Reporter) The changes in the military justice system included in this law are greatly welcomed by the Democratic Party of Korea. For some crimes such as rape, sexual violence, and murder in the military, the commander originally decided whether to prosecute or not. The law excludes military commanders from the decision-making process and requires each military to set up a special prosecutor’s office to deal with it. Meanwhile, the Republican Party emphasized the achievement of blocking the Democrats’ attempts to include women in the draft and allowing soldiers who were discharged due to refusal of the corona vaccine to avoid the form of disgraceful discharge.

Former US President Barack Obama attends the 26th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) held in Glasgow, England, last month.  (data photo)

Former US President Barack Obama attends the 26th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) held in Glasgow, England, last month. (data photo)

Host) America Now, let’s see one more news. Who’s the best president of the United States over the past 40 years?

Reporter) Yes, Pew Research, an opinion polling agency, recently announced the results of a survey of about 1300 Americans in September. It contains evaluations of the seven presidents who have been in office over the past 40 years.

Moderator) Let’s start with the most important conclusion, shall we? Which president was rated as doing the best job?

Reporter) First, if you look at the combined content of both Democrats and Republicans, former President Barack Obama has the highest rating. Nearly 60 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaning Americans voted for former President Obama, making him the Democrat’s most rated president. Among Republicans or Republican-leaning respondents, 6% chose former President Obama as the best-working president.

Moderator) Let’s take a look at how the following sequence came out.

Reporter) 2nd and 3rd places were chosen by the Republican President. In second place was former President Ronald Reagan, who was in office in the 1980s, and in third place was former President Donald Trump.

Moderator) Did the two Republican presidents have absolute support from the same party as former President Obama?

Reporter) Yes. If you look at former President Reagan’s evaluation, 42% of Republicans or Republican-leaning respondents chose former President Reagan, the largest number. Among them, 37% of respondents chose former President Trump. 8% and 2% of Democratic-leaning respondents picked the two former presidents, respectively.

Moderator) So, if we summarize the contents so far, former President Obama took first place in the results regardless of party, and when divided into Democrats and Republicans, former President Obama was selected by the Democratic Party, and former President Reagan was selected by the Republican Party, right?

Reporter: Yes, that’s right.

Moderator) I saw the top rankings. So now let’s look at the middle and lower ranks.

Reporter) Yes, look at the rankings of the remaining four presidents. Former President Bill Clinton was in fourth place with 12%, followed by former President George W. Bush at 5% at 4% and President George HW Bush at 3% in sixth place. There is only one president left. That’s the incumbent President Joe Biden. Although he’s only been in office for less than a year, only 3% of respondents rate Biden as a good president.

Moderator) Are Republican and Democrat ratings similar?

Reporter) Yes, there is not much difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats or Democrats were 5% of respondents. Fewer than 1% of Republicans or Republican-leaning respondents said that President Biden is president.

Moderator) That’s right. How was the evaluation by age or race in this evaluation?

Reporter) Yes, looking at the results of this survey, you can see that there was a big difference, especially by age. Former President Reagan, who was voted No. 1 in the Republican Party, received the highest evaluation among seniors aged 65 and over. More than half (53%) of those aged 65 and over chose former President Reagan. Conversely, the evaluation of former President Barack Obama, who was ranked first in the Democratic Party, was overwhelmingly high among young people between the ages of 18 and 29. Nearly 75% of respondents in that age group chose former President Obama.

Moderator) What are the results by race?

Reporter) The race of the president was reflected as it was. Former President Reagan had the highest number of white respondents at 45%, and former President Obama had the highest number of black respondents with 69%.

Moderator) Incumbent President Biden received the lowest rating. How did this evaluation come about?

Reporter) In this investigation, six items including President Biden’s health and corona response policies, foreign policy, immigration policy, and national unity were investigated. When asked if they think President Biden is doing well in each field, they are asked to respond with ‘very confident’ and ‘somewhat confident’, ‘not confident’ and ‘not at all confident’. In all evaluation items except health, the highest response was ‘I am not at all confident’. In the health sector, ‘somewhat confident’ and ‘not confident at all’ came out with a tie of 30% each.

Moderator) America Now, I will listen to this until today.

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