(Headline USA) The U.S. on Monday finally reached President Joe Biden’s goal of getting at least one COVID-19 shot into 70% of American adults—a month late and amid a fierce surge by the delta variant that is leading to new mask rules and mandatory vaccinations around the country.
The White House reportedly had been drafting a “solemn” speech during which Biden would announce another round of draconian lockdowns, even though the COVID threat appears to be far less lethal than it once was.
WH official this am: “B lockdown speech being drawn up this week…they’re planning to make it sound like one of the most solemn in history, real Bush on the night of 9/11 type stuff. Would start stocking up if I were y’all”
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) August 2, 2021
The 70% vaccination rate was once touted to be the magic number for “herd immunity,” meaning the point at which the virus would cease to have its pandemic potency and fade into the background as a less lethal threat.
But Democrats have, yet again, moved the goalposts in order to exert more control over the public with the Biden administration facing greater economic disaster, skyrocketing crime and immigration, and a slew of other problems.
Nonetheless, reports about vaccinated people—including US Sen. Lindsey Graham—testing positive despite having received the vaccine were sure to raise the alarm bells, giving Democrats the justification they need for an unprecedented assault on civil liberties.
In a major retreat in the Deep South, Louisiana ordered nearly everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear masks again in all indoor public settings, including schools and colleges And other cities and states likewise moved to reinstate precautions to counter another crisis.
It is unclear how many of the new cases may involve illegal immigrants, whom the Biden administration has stealthily shipped into various parts of the country under cover of night, despite little evidence that they have been vaccinated or screened for COVID-19.
There was was no celebration at the White House on Monday, nor a setting of a new target, as the administration instead struggles to overcome skepticism and outright hostility to the vaccine, especially in the South and other rural and conservative areas.
Much of that is due to the divisive and insulting rhetoric from the administration itself, as well as inconsistent guidance from bureaucratic organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. still has not hit the administration’s other goal of fully vaccinating 165 million American adults by July 4. It is about 8.5 million short.
New cases per day in the U.S. have increased sixfold over the past month to an average of nearly 80,000, a level not seen since mid-February. And deaths per day have climbed over the past two weeks from an average of 259 to 360.
Those are still well below the 3,400 deaths and a quarter-million cases per day seen during the worst of the outbreak, in January. But some places around the country are watching caseloads reach their highest levels since the pandemic began.
Health officials in San Francisco and six other Bay Area counties announced Monday they are reinstating a requirement that everyone—vaccinated or not—wear masks in public indoor spaces.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York City airport and transit workers will have to get vaccinated or face weekly testing. He stopped short of mandating either masks or inoculations for the general public, saying he lacks legal authority to do so.
Denver’s mayor said the city will require police officers, firefighters and certain other municipal employees to get vaccinated, along with workers at schools, nursing homes, hospitals and jails.
Minnesota’s public colleges and universities will require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. New Jersey said workers at state-run nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals and other such institutions must get the shot or face regular testing.
North Carolina’s governor ordered state employees to cover up indoors if they are not fully vaccinated.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a nationwide vaccination requirement “is not on the table,” but noted that employers have the right to take such a step.
While setting a national vaccination goal may have been useful for trying to drum up enthusiasm for the shots, 70% of Americans getting one shot was never going to be enough to prevent surges among unvaccinated groups. And when he announced the goal, Biden acknowledged it was just a first step.
Vaccination rates in some Southern states are far lower than they are New England. Vermont has fully inoculated nearly 78% of its adult population. Alabama has just cracked 43%.