President Biden invoked Americans’ love of country to increase vaccination rates in his Independence Day remarks, saying that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is “the most patriotic thing you can do.”
The administration fell just short of its goal to administer at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of by July 4, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting Friday that about 67% of the U.S. adult population had received one dose or more.
“Two hundred and forty-five years ago, we declared our independence from a distant king,” Mr. Biden said Sunday in his remarks on the South Lawn of the White House. “Today, we’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus. That’s not to say the battle against COVID-19 is over. We’ve got a lot more work to do.”
Mr. Biden praised the progress against the virus, saying this year’s Independence Day celebration marked a turning point against the virus but warned of the risks the emerging delta variant still poses.
“This year, the Fourth of July is a day of special celebration, for we are emerging from the darkness of years; a year of pandemic and isolation; a year of pain, fear, and heartbreaking loss,” the president said.
“Don’t get me wrong, COVID-19 is — has not been vanquished. We all know powerful variants have emerged, like the delta variant, but the best defense against these variants is to get vaccinated,” he said.
As of the time of his remarks, the president reported that 603,018 Americans had died from the virus.
The delta variant, which emerged in the U.S. in March, poses a significant challenge to progress against the virus, according to Yale Medicine epidemiologists who say the strain is more contagious and potentially more severe than other strains.