President Joe Biden on Friday issued a warning regarding the “potentially deadlier” delta coronavirus variant as part of a plea to Americans to receive the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible.
“Even while we’re making incredible progress it remains a serious and deadly threat,” Biden said in a White House speech on the virus.
“It’s a variant that is more easily transmissible, potentially deadlier and particularly dangerous for young people, but the good news is we have the solution,” the president continued, before adding that vaccines are the most effective protection against the illness.
“We’re heading into, God willing, the summer of joy, the summer of freedom,” he added. “On July 4, we are going to celebrate our independence from the virus as we celebrate our independence of our nation. We want everyone to be able to do that.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 305 million vaccine doses had been administered as of June 10. About 141.6 million people, or 42.6% of the U.S. population, have been fully vaccinated.
The pace of new vaccinations in the U.S. has dropped significantly from a high of nearly 2 million per day about two months ago, jeopardizing Biden’s ability to hit the 70% mark.
The White House said its whole-of-government approach to the vaccination effort has put the virus in retreat, which in turn has brought Chinese coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths to their lowest levels in more than a year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.