July 4: The United States celebrates but the White House does not impose masks or vaccines | Washington DC
Americans celebrated their country’s 245th birthday on Sunday with fireworks, hot dogs, marching bands and a sense of great relief, after the coronavirus pandemic forced nearly all of the celebrations to be canceled. last year.
In doing so, a senior administration official sought to explain why vaccinations and masks would not be mandatory for a large White House party, as he and other Joe Biden advisers stressed the need for Americans. reduce the risk of increased cases. of the infectious variant Delta.
Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union, coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said, “You are protected if you are vaccinated. You are not protected if you are not. We do not impose vaccines.
“At the White House tonight, there are very rigorous testing and screening protocols. People who have been vaccinated do not need to wear a mask. Those who are not vaccinated should wear a mask. “
A day after the 78-year-old president mingled with mostly unmasked crowds at a cherry picking festival in Michigan, around 1,000 people were invited to his July 4th celebration on the lawn of the White House.
“We’re here to celebrate frontline workers and our military,” Zients said. “And these are people who understand the importance of safety and who do the right thing. I think most of these people are vaccinated and we encourage all Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible. “
When asked why vaccination was not mandatory, Zients replied, “At the end of the day, it’s an individual choice. We hope that everyone will make the right choice here and get vaccinated as soon as possible. “
Speaking to ABC’s This Week, Zients insisted, “The White House event is going the right way. It is an outdoor event with tests and screenings. Vaccinated people not wearing masks. Masked unvaccinated people. It is done in the right way, in accordance with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines.
“Having said that, we are redoubling our efforts during the summer months, we will be vaccinating millions more people because you need to get vaccinated to be protected against the Delta variant and against this disease in general.”
The Biden administration missed its goal of having 70% of adult Americans with at least one shot by the holiday weekend.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci warned of likely spikes in Delta variant cases in areas with low vaccination rates, often due to resistance from Republicans loyal to former President Donald Trump.
In the first year of the pandemic, Trump hosted a number of White House events with flawed public health measures, followed by an increase in Covid cases. Trump himself was hospitalized, would have with a case more serious than we admit.
Biden was due to address his own White House event, themed “Covid-19 Independence Day and Independence Day.” According to excerpts of his remarks, he would announce his administration’s success in conducting vaccinations and “urge every American to join the fight – to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated.”
After dark in Washington, the National Mall was to host a large fireworks display, a 17-minute cannonade from the Lincoln Memorial. On Capitol Hill, marching bands organized a traditional parade. New York was also to host a large fireworks display, for which more than 65,000 shells were loaded onto barges in the East River.
In Ocean City, Md., Fireworks unintentionally exploded during installation, slightly injuring employees of a fireworks company, authorities said.
Many videos posted on social media showed fireworks bursting and crackling near a crowded beach. No beach or boardwalk patrons were injured, firefighters said. The city said fireworks in several locations had been canceled.
Some classic events with a national profile, such as Nathan’s famous hot dog-eating contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn, have been kept small to allow for social distancing in recognition of a pandemic that has left more than 605,000 dead in the states. -United.
In Florida, several cities have canceled fireworks out of respect for the victims of a building collapse in Surfside, near Miami, last month. Trump held a rally near Sarasota on Saturday, despite suggestions from aides to Gov. Ron DeSantis that he shouldn’t do so.
It was expected to be the busiest July 4 for car travel, with an estimated 43.6 million people on the roads, 5% more than in 2019, the American Automobile Association said.
But for some, July 4th was still a grim occasion. In addition to the pandemic veil and building collapse in Florida, the western United States faces an increased risk of wildfires after a heat wave and in extremely dry conditions.
The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, this week warned state and local police of an increased threat of violence from domestic extremist groups.