Biden: US still in 'life-and-death race' with coronavirus

Biden: US still in 'life-and-death race' with coronavirus
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President BidenJoe BidenBiden authorizes up to 0M for Afghan refugees Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe MORE on Tuesday called for renewed vigilance as the U.S. battles another rise in coronavirus cases, saying the U.S. is in a “life-and-death race” with COVID-19 while also making progress toward vaccinating the public.

Biden noted the danger of highly contagious coronavirus variants and urged Americans to continue practicing social distancing and wearing masks as the country works toward protecting all adults from COVID-19.

“I understand that people may find it confusing that the vaccination program is saving tens of thousands of lives but the pandemic remains dangerous. Let me explain it in a single word: time,” Biden said in remarks in the State Dining Room. “Even moving at the record speed we are moving at, we are not even halfway through vaccinating over 300 million Americans. This is going to take time.”

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“The virus is spreading because we have too many people who, seeing the end in sight, think we are at the finish line already,” Biden said. “We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do. We are still in a life-and-death race with this virus.”

The president reiterated that Americans would be able to safely gather in small groups for the Fourth of July holiday this year.

“The real question is, how much death, disease and misery are we going to see between now and then?” Biden asked.

But he also emphasized encouraging developments in the fight against the virus. Biden announced that the U.S. had surpassed 150 million coronavirus vaccine doses under his administration and said the country is on track to meet his goal of 200 million vaccinations in his first 100 days as president.

As expected, Biden also announced that he was moving up the target for states to make all adults eligible to receive a vaccine to April 19 — about two weeks earlier than his previous goal of May 1. Biden noted Tuesday that many governors had already moved up their plans to vaccinate all adults before May 1.

The president issued an appeal to seniors to get vaccinated now before the rest of the adult population has access to the vaccines.

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“Seniors, it’s time for you to get vaccinated now. Get vaccinated now,” he said.

Biden said he expects the “vast majority” of adults will have received at least their first dose of coronavirus vaccine by the end of May, adding that the progress should give Americans hope. But he also urged the public not to let their guard down. 

“We can’t let it make us complacent,” Biden said. “Despite the progress we are making as a nation, I want every American to know in no uncertain terms that this fight isn’t over. This progress we have worked so hard to achieve can be reversed. Now is not the time to let down. Now is not the time to celebrate.”