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Monday, July 26, 2021

Let’s celebrate Independence Day but do it carefully

America is still short of its goal of having at least 70 percent of its citizens fully vaccinated against COVID-19
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Communities around America that curtailed or canceled its annual 4th of July festivities during last year’s COVID-19 pandemic are planning full-fledged fireworks and other fun this year as part of a return to some sense of normalcy as vaccinated individuals venture out sans masks or a need for social distancing.

President Joe Biden plans to celebrate Independence Day with a crowd on the National Mall in Washington and events to honor first responders and medical personnel for their selfless acts to fight the virus.

The President proclaims “a summer of freedom” where Americans can resume their pre-pandemic lives and lifestyles.

“By July the 4th, there’s a good chance you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbeque and celebrate Independence Day,” Biden said on March 4th, the one-year anniversary of the pandemic on March 11. “That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together.”

Large crowds were found in many parts of the nation on Memorial Day. Now the White House sees July 4th as the “unofficial kickoff” of the next phase of bringing America back from the brink of the pandemic.

As Zeke Miller writes here on Capitol Hill Blue and for other media websites:

“We welcome you to join us by hosting your own events to honor our freedom, salute those who have been serving on the frontlines, and celebrate our progress in fighting this pandemic,” the White House wrote in an email to state and local officials Tuesday. It asked them to share their plans to be highlighted later by the administration.

In Washington, the National Mall will host the traditional fireworks ceremony, the White house said.

“America is headed into a summer dramatically different from last year,” the administration wrote to officials. “A summer of freedom. A summer of joy. A summer of reunions and celebrations.”

Still, the U.S. vaccination campaign is far from over as rates slip. Fewer than 370,000 Americans are now getting their first dose on average each day, down from a high of nearly 2 million per day two months ago.

White House officials acknowledged that there are still deep geographic disparities in vaccination and that the administration will continue to remind Americans that if they are not vaccinated they remain at risk of serious illness and death from the virus.

In other words, let’s celebrate the 4th and spend time with those who have been fully vaccinated but be wary of those you don’t know and those who may not have taken the necessary steps to safeguard themselves and others from COVID-19. July 4th was supposed to be a tie when at least 70% would be fully vaccinated. To reach Biden’s goal would mean vaccinating more than 14 million in less than three weeks.

That ain’t gonna happen.

“Regardless of where we are on July Fourth, we’re not shutting down shop,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week. “On July 5th, we’re going to continue to press to vaccinate more people across the country.”

On the Fourth of July, let’s celebrate but remember to “be careful out there.”

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