Biden to visit Michigan Saturday to mark progress against coronavirus

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President Biden will travel to Michigan during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend as part of an effort by the White House to mark the progress against the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House announced Monday that Biden will travel to Traverse City with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) as part of his administration’s “America’s Back Together” tour on Saturday. Vice President Harris will separately travel to Las Vegas the same day.

Biden has set a goal of getting at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine to 70 percent of Americans age 18 and up by July 4. While the White House acknowledged last week that the U.S. is unlikely to hit that benchmark, officials nevertheless are trying to use the Independence Day holiday to celebrate progress against the virus and tout the administration’s response efforts.

As more and more Americans have received coronavirus vaccines, cases, deaths and hospitalizations have plummeted across the country. Still, the administration is finding it more difficult to convince younger adults to get vaccinated. 

In Michigan, about 61 percent of residents age 16 and up have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to state health data.

The trip will be Biden’s third as president to Michigan, a key swing state that he won by 154,000 votes in 2020. Biden has a positive relationship with Whitmer and even considered her as a potential running mate after winning the Democratic nomination last year but ultimately selected Harris.

In addition to his trip to Michigan, Biden will host a crowd of more than 1,000 first responders, military members and essential workers for a cookout on the White House South Lawn on July 4 to celebrate the holiday and watch the National Mall fireworks display. Biden is expected to deliver remarks at the event.

Plans for the large event at the White House and other parts of the country come as health experts raise alarm bells over the spread of the more transmissible delta variant. Press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday afternoon that she didn’t foresee the administration’s plans for the large gathering changing but insisted that the White House is “driven by the advice of our health and medical experts.”

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 Gretchen Whitmer Jen Psaki Joe Biden Michigan

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