President Biden admitted that more lives will be lost to the Delta variant of COVID-19, even as he encouraged Americans to enjoy their Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Delivering an optimistic message at the White House on positive jobs numbers, he struck an uneasy balance as he warned of more COVID deaths ahead but played down worries that the Delta variant would turn back the clock to the worst days of the pandemic.
‘I am concerned that people who have not gotten vaccinated have the capacity to catch the variant and spread the variant to other people who have not been vaccinated,’ he said.
‘I am not concerned there’s going to be a major outbreak, in other words that we’re going to have another major epidemic nationwide, but I am concerned that lives will be lost.’
President Biden said: ‘I am not concerned there’s going to be a major outbreak, in other words that we’re going to have another major epidemic nationwide, but I am concerned that lives will be lost’
AAA is forecasting that more than 47.7 million Americans will take to the roads and skies over the weekend as families prepare to enjoy the holiday in pre-pandemic numbers.
Local officials in several states, such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Nevada, are reporting an increase in cases of COVID-19 ahead of July 4 weekend
Health experts blame the Indian ‘Delta’ variant spreading, making up 26.1% of new cases in the country and as many as 77% of cases in some states
He was speaking as Americans prepared to celebrate Independence Day in numbers not seen since before the pandemic, at cookouts, family reunions and fireworks parties.
The president plans to host more than 1000 people – including first responders and troops – at the White House for a party celebrating a ‘summer of freedom.’
According to AAA, more than 47.7 million Americans will take to the roads and skies over the weekend, in a return to pre-pandemic numbers.
Yet health officials have sounded the alarm at vaccinated and unvaccinated people mingling at large gatherings as the Delta variant spreads rapidly in the U.S.
They fear it could undo some of the progress made this year.
The latest figures show an average of about 12,000 new cases and 250 deaths every day.
And the country has yet to reach the target of delivering one vaccine dose to 70 percent of adults by July 4.
Biden urged the hesitant to get vaccinated in the hope that next year’s celebrations could be even better.
‘For those of you who haven’t been vaccinated, because you don’t think you want to go through it, it doesn’t hurt, it’s accessible, it’s free, it’s available,’ he said.
‘Don’t think about yourself, think about your family, think about those around you.
‘That’s what we should be thinking about so the Fourth of July this year is different to the Fourth of July last year. It’s going to be better next year.’
Many states where COVID-19 cases are rising have fully vaccinated less than 45% of their populations – which is below the national average
The Delta variant was first spotted in India. It carries a cluster of mutations, including one that enables it to infect human cells more easily.
Its increased infectivity has triggered a fresh wave of lockdowns around the world.
In the United Kingdom, it now accounts for almost 100 percent of new cases.
And it has now been detected in every state of the U.S., with South Dakota being the last to report a case linked to the strain, and Washington, DC – and, in some areas, it makes up more than three-quarters of all new infections.
Arkansas is one of the states to see cases surge with a 202 percent rise from an average of 234 cases per day to 707 per day over the last two weeks, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
‘We are now going in the wrong direction yet again with COVID10-19 infections here in the state of Arkansas,’ said Dr Cam Patterson, chancellor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, during a briefing on Tuesday.