The Biden administration is encouraging nationwide celebrations on July 4 and plans to host a barbecue for first responders, essential workers, military personnel and their families on the South Lawn of the White House.
The more than 1,000 invited presidential guests will also be able to stay for the fireworks over the National Mall, according to two White House officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The celebration marks a big leap from the cautious goals he announced on the first anniversary of the pandemic on March 11.
“By July 4th, there is a good chance that you, your families and your friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a barbecue and barbecue and celebrate Independence Day”, had Biden said. “It doesn’t mean big events with a lot of people together, but it does mean small groups can get together.”
Speaking to reporters on Monday after the NATO summit in Brussels, Biden again stressed that while the average of coronavirus cases and deaths “drops dramatically” in the United States, “there are still too many lives lost “, what he called” a real tragedy “.
“We still have work to do to defeat this virus, and now is not the time to let our guard down,” Biden said.
Also in the news:
►The University of California will require students, staff and faculty to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 this fall, the latest in a myriad of colleges to require a vaccine to go to campus.
►The United States will send an overnight shipment of 1.35 million COVID vaccines to Mexico after Vice President Kamala Harris pledged an excess shipment to the southern neighbor last week.
►A new study has found that about a third of Americans planning to retire now say COVID has delayed their retirement.
►Two nurses from Iowa were fired Monday after administering up to six times the appropriate dose of COVID-19 vaccine to dozens of inmates at Fort Madison Prison in April, a maximum security prison for men.
►More than 50 million people experienced food insecurity during the pandemic, up from 35 million in 2019, according to nonprofit Feeding America, the largest national organization fighting hunger.
Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 33.47 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and at least 599,900 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 176.2 million cases and over 3.8 million deaths. More than 144.9 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 43.7% of the population, according to the CDC.
What we read: Effective COVID-19 vaccines developed in less than a year. But half a century after the country declared war on cancer, and 40 years after the first reported case of HIV / AIDS, there is no way left to prevent the disease or many others. Read the full story.
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“It’s a new day”: California reopens today after 15 months of restrictions
The country’s largest state reopens today, ending a series of 15-month restrictions to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. California is ranked 41st among the states with the fastest spreading coronavirus per person, according to a USA TODAY Network analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. With 11.87% of the country’s population, California recorded 6.19% of the country’s cases last week.
The Golden State is in a distinctly different place than it was in December when it broke single-day hospitalizations and case counts on multiple days in a row. Deaths topped 30,000, then 45,000 the following month, and many southern California funeral homes were overwhelmed by the outbreak. Last week, California recorded 792 to 1,136 new infections each day, up from a peak of nearly 54,000 in December.
“It’s a new day,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Monday, ahead of the state’s reopening. “This state is not about to recover, it is about, as has been noted, roaring back.”
Cashier shot dead after dispute over masks at supermarket in Georgia
One person was killed and three others were injured Monday in a shootout at a supermarket in Georgia after an argument over wearing face masks, authorities said.
The alleged shooter began an argument with a cashier at the Big Bear supermarket in Decatur, Georgia, over his face mask, Dekalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said at a press conference Monday. The shooter has been identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as Victor Lee Tucker Jr., 30, of Palmetto, Georgia.
The agency said preliminary information indicated that Tucker then left the store without making a purchase. He returned shortly after, pulling out a handgun and shooting the cashier. She later died of her injuries, Maddox said.
A deputy, who worked as a security guard and retired from active duty, attempted to intervene in the shooting, Maddox said. The deputy and Tucker exchanged gunfire, and both were injured in the shooting. Both were transported to local hospitals.
Another cashier was injured in the store but was treated on site.
Global cases drop for seven consecutive weeks, WHO director says
The head of the World Health Organization said the number of new reported coronavirus cases has now declined in the past seven weeks, the longest period of decline since the start of the pandemic.
At a press briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the drop but said very uneven access to coronavirus vaccines threatened further progress.
“The virus is moving faster than the global distribution (of the vaccine),” Tedros said. He called on political leaders to commit to vaccinating at least 70% of the world’s population by next year’s G7 meeting.
Contribute: The Associated Press.