US getting back to normal on July 4, but falls short of Biden’s vax goal

Washington, Jul 4 (EFE).- Americans on Sunday are celebrating Independence Day amid signs of “normality” after months of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, although the country has not reached the July 4 goal set by President Joe Biden for 70 percent of all adults to have received at least one dose of one of the anti-Covid vaccines.

On July 4, Biden will preside at the first big event of his presidency – a barbecue with about 1,000 attendees, including specially invited essential workers, military personnel and their families, who later will enjoy a traditional fireworks display.

On this long weekend, the president, first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been participating in assorted activities around the country touting the administration’s message that “America’s Back Together.”

The aim of the campaign is to emphasize that the pandemic infection and death figures have begun to slacken and to promote vaccination to guard against the appearance of new cases linked to the hyper-contagious Delta variant, which is already spreading within the US and around the world.

A public opinion survey released on Sunday by The Washington Post and ABC News revealed that 62 percent of Americans rate Biden’s handling of the pandemic in a positive way.

The president did not receive the same results on issues like immigration, where just 33 percent approved of his efforts, or on his anti-crime strategy, which received the support of just 38 percent.

The survey showed that just 60 percent of those queried said that they had received at least one dose of an anti-Covid vaccine and among those who still have not been immunized 74 percent say that it’s “unlikely” that they will get the jab.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 47.3 percent of the US population, or 156.9 million people, are fully vaccinated and 54.9 percent (192.1 million) have received at least one dose.

Those percentages rise to 58.1 percent fully vaccinated and 67 percent with at least one dose for the country’s over-18 population.

Top US government epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC News on Sunday that the country is dealing with an historic situation with the pandemic but the tool to counteract it is available: getting vaccinated.

He called on Americans to leave their “differences” behind and get immunized to avoid “preventable” deaths.

Fauci said that of the roughly 10,000 Covid deaths recorded in June in the US, “about 99.2 per cent of (those victims were) unvaccinated about 0.8 per cent (were) vaccinated.”

The CDC estimates that the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, currently represents 25 percent of the new Covid-19 cases in the US, which has already suffered more than 600,000 virus deaths during the pandemic.

Fauci warned that the Delta strain is “clearly” more transmissible” than earlier strains of the virus, adding that it also seems to be “more lethal.”

Despite fears over the Delta variant, it is expected that Independence Day travel will handily surpass the 2020 figures, when July 4 celebrations were significantly dampened amid measures to try and contain the pandemic.

The American Automobile Association has estimated that more than 47.7 million people will travel somewhere in the country to enjoy the holiday.

That figure exceeds the 40 percent who made a trip for July 4, 2020, and is just 2.5 percent below 2019 travel, when a record 48.9 percent of Americans made a trip somewhere.

According to the GasBuddy Web site, demand for gasoline ended the past week up 4.6 percent, the “highest” percentage since August 2019, and fuel prices have also been setting records.

The personal finance WalletHub Website reported, according to a recent survey, that 36 percent of Americans will spend more money this July 4 than on the same date last year.

In addition, Americans said they were ready to spend some $1.4 billion on beer and wine during this holiday weekend, during which about 150 million hot dogs will be consumed around the country, according to WalletHub.

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