President Joe Biden on Friday will mark the United States administering 300 million Covid-19 shots in 150 days and give an update on the nation's response to the pandemic, according to a White House official.
While touting his administration's national vaccination effort, which has brought Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths down significantly in recent months, the President "will also make clear that there is more work to be done," the official said.
Biden will also highlight the ongoing work by his administration "to achieve equity in our pandemic response," the official said, which is something federal officials have stressed has been central to their pandemic response efforts since day one.
Biden has set a goal of having 70% of US adults get at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and having 160 million US adults fully vaccinated by July Fourth, but it is unclear whether the nation will hit that mark.
Currently 65% of US adults have had at least one Covid-19 shot, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and about 147.8 million Americans are fully vaccinated. Only 14 states have reached Biden's goal, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.
Restrictions that were put in place to stop the spread of the virus are being rolled back every day across the nation and more and more Americans are returning to their pre-pandemic lifestyles. But federal health officials warn that unvaccinated people can continue to spread the virus and more transmissible new variants could accelerate the spread. The Biden administration is racing to get more of the eligible population vaccinated to try to prevent the rise and spread of even more concerning new variants.
Federal officials are pointing to the emerging B.1.617.2, or Delta, variant, which was first identified in India, as yet another reason to get vaccinated. Andy Slavitt, a former White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response, told CNN on Wednesday that the Delta variant is like "Covid on steroids."
But the White House is planning to host a celebration for thousands of essential workers and military families on July Fourth on the South Lawn to mark America's "independence from the virus," CNN has reported, according to a White House official. The celebration will be the largest in-person White House event since the President took office, and the National Mall will also be open for the traditional July Fourth fireworks.
The event will follow a grim milestone in the country's fight against the pandemic: The US surpassed 600,000 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The Biden administration on Thursday announced it would invest more than $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan to accelerate the discovery, development and manufacturing of Covid-19 antiviral medicines -- including pills someone could easily take at home early in an illness.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters that though vaccines remain the administration's centerpiece in the fight against Covid-19, antivirals would add a layer of defense, particularly against emerging variants.