At his first large event since his inauguration, President Joe Biden hosted a party at the White House in honor of the Fourth of July holiday Sunday.
“America is coming back together,” Biden said. “Today, we’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus.” “This is a holiday weekend,” Biden declared on Friday as he parried journalists’ “negative” questions about the ongoing U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, “I’m going to be celebrating it.” Biden wants Americans to celebrate too, after enduring 16 months of disruption in the pandemic and more than 605,000 deaths.
The White House encouraged gatherings and fireworks displays all around the country to mark the 4th of July. Cases and deaths from COVID-19 are at or near record lows since the outbreak began. Businesses and restaurants are open, hiring is picking up and travel is getting closer to pre-pandemic levels. “If you’ve had the vaccine, you’re doing great,” said Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, an infectious disease physician at the John Cochran VA Medical Center and St. Louis Board of Health. “If you haven’t had the vaccine, you should be alarmed and that’s just the bottom line, there’s no easy way to cut it.”
“The Fourth of July this year is different than the Fourth of July of last year,” Biden said Friday. “And it’s going to be better next year.” Top officials in the Biden administration fanned out across the country over the weekend to promote the vastly improved virus situation under the banner, “America’s Back Together.”