Biden to Host Independence Day Occasion Celebrating Progress on the Pandemic

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While the White House once set July 4th as the date when at least 70 percent of adults would be at least partially vaccinated, officials admitted last month that they would almost certainly miss that target as vaccination rates peaked at April has fallen.

Updated

July 4, 2021, 4:20 p.m. ET

And while 20 states, Washington, DC, and two territories passed the 70 percent mark last week, the country’s overall progress has slowed significantly, with now an average of about a million doses per week. According to the New York Times, about 67 percent of adults had received at least one injection on Sunday.

The rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant has also raised concerns among public health officials, who fear that new outbreaks could occur in parts of the country where vaccination rates have remained comparatively low, and that the variant could mutate to that extent vaccinated, Americans remain vulnerable.

While the pageantry at the White House will be a demonstration of normality that seemed far from likely at the start of Mr Biden’s tenure, the occasion will be marked by a reluctance seldom seen under the previous administration.

Even as new cases soared to a summer high last year, President Donald J. Trump hosted 35-minute fireworks and military flyovers on the National Mall, against the will of Washington Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, who urged people to do so do not participate. This year’s fireworks show will be half as long, and Ms. Bowser has welcomed guests to town, encouraged by advances on vaccines.

Under Mr Trump, the White House held other large gatherings well before vaccines were approved, including two to celebrate the nomination and endorsement of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, at which he and several other attendees were believed to have been exposed and infected.

For Mr Biden, this year’s celebrations seem choreographed to signal that Americans can enjoy some measure of normalcy when they get together, even as his own public health officials continue to emphasize the importance of maintaining momentum with vaccines to have.