Biden warns more COVID vaccinations needed as Delta variant spreads

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden delivered remarks on the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday afternoon from the White House. He said the U.S. needs to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates.

The president announced his administration is going to work on making gains by involving more physicians, pharmacists, and employers in the effort against the Delta variant, which he said is to blame for half of all of the new cases in the country.

“We need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and often times door-to-door, literally knocking on doors,” Biden said, adding there will be more mobile clinics.

Biden said those who haven’t received the free vaccine are putting the people they care about at risk. Federal teams will respond to communities where there are low vaccination rates and COVID outbreaks.

“We are emerging from one of the darkest years in our nation’s history into a summer of hope,” Biden said, adding the progress has been “hard-fought.”

Instead of the 70% of Americans vaccinated that Biden had envisioned for by the Fourth of July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 67% are vaccinated.

Florida reports 53% of the population is vaccinated, but it’s likely health officials are not taking into account the foreigners who traveled to Florida to get the vaccine.

“It seems to me it should cause everybody to think twice, and it should cause reconsideration especially among young people,” Biden said.

President Joe Biden said Sunday and Tuesday that he considers getting the vaccine against COVID-19 a patriotic act.

Biden also repeated his Independence Day message before the fireworks display in the National Mall by saying that getting the vaccine is an act of patriotism.

“We are closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus,” Biden said. “That’s not to say the battle against COVID-19 is over. We have got a lot more work to do.”

At least 605,799 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S., including about 37,985 in Florida. There have been at least 6,472 COVID-related deaths in Miami-Dade County, and 3,079 in Broward County.

For more data about the effect of the pandemic in Florida, visit the John Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center. For more information about where to get a COVID vaccine, visit the use the Florida Department of Health’s vaccine locator.

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Torres contributed to this report from Miami.

About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.