President Joe Biden will travel to Traverse City, Michigan, on Saturday as part of the White House’s July Fourth celebrations, which will highlight the US’s progress in the fight against Covid-19.
The White House’s holiday weekend theme is “America’s Back Together,” and the administration is promoting the idea that as Americans get vaccinated against Covid-19, much of the country is returning to pre-pandemic life.
The administration is still racing to get the rest of the country vaccinated, especially as a dangerous variant spreads, but officials are pointing to July 4th as a weekend to commemorate the country’s progress.
“The Fourth of July is a moment for us to step back and celebrate our progress,” White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters on Thursday. “We’ve made tremendous progress in our fight against the virus, with now two out of three adult Americans with at least one shot. And directly because of this work, deaths and hospitalizations have fallen 90% since January 20.”
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, echoed that sentiment, saying: “You can still celebrate while getting your message across loud and clear… that is, if you are vaccinated, you are protected to a high degree. If you are not, you should wear a mask and you should think very seriously about getting vaccinated.”
Over the holiday weekend, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, and members of Biden’s Cabinet will travel across the country. On Saturday, Jill Biden will travel to Maine and New Hampshire, while Harris will travel to Nevada. Emhoff left on Friday for Utah.
According to the White House, Biden’s Cabinet will travel across the country to attend roundtables and baseball games, as well as visit fire stations, festivals, parades, cookouts, and other events. Colorado, Virginia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Ohio, Iowa, and New Hampshire, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, will be visited by Cabinet members.
The trip comes ahead of a massive Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn hosted by the Bidens for over a thousand essential workers and military families.
The trip comes ahead of a massive Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn hosted by the Bidens for over a thousand essential workers and military families. Since Biden’s election, the celebration will be the largest in-person White House event. The National Mall will also be open for the annual July Fourth fireworks display, which is expected to draw large crowds.
The White House recently admitted that the United States would fall short of Biden’s Covid-19 vaccination goals set for July 4th, saying that the country still has work to do to get younger Americans vaccinated. By July 4th, the President hoped to have at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot in 70 percent of US adults and 160 million Americans fully vaccinated. According to the CDC, 67 percent of US adults had received at least one vaccination as of Friday before the holiday weekend.
Zients said this week that the administration had “exceeded our expectations for where we would be on July 4th,” after saying the US was expected to meet those goals weeks after the initial target date. He did say, however, that the administration still had a lot of work to do to get the rest of the country vaccinated and protected, and that they would be stepping up their efforts.