Biden plans 1,000-strong Fourth of July gathering at White House to mark Covid progress

Chantal da Silva@chantaladasilva
Wednesday 16 June 2021 14:23
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<p>Joe Biden gestures after speaking during election night at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, early on November 4, 2020. The Biden administration is planning on gathering 1,000 people at the White House for a Fourth of July event.</p>

Joe Biden gestures after speaking during election night at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, early on November 4, 2020. The Biden administration is planning on gathering 1,000 people at the White House for a Fourth of July event.

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The White House is expected to host as many as 1,000 people for a Fourth of July celebration meant to mark Joe Biden’s delivery on a promise to return the US to some semblance of normality by the holiday.

According to The New York Times, essential workers and military families will be invited to the event, which will be held on the South Lawn.

Residents have also been invited to attend a holiday fireworks display on the National Mall, with the National Parks Service announcing that all nearby monuments will also be open to visitors.

In a statement, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said “DC is open and ready to welcome back visitors” for the holiday.

Meanwhile, White House officials have also encouraged local leaders to hold their own gatherings in celebration of a “summer of freedom”.

“America is headed into a summer dramatically different from last year. A summer of freedom. A summer of joy. A summer of reunions and celebrations,” an email reportedly sent out to local leaders by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs said.

The messaging this Fourth of July is dramatically different from that of last year, when Americans were advised to practice social distancing and to avoid traveling into the capital.

It also exceeds Mr Biden’s initial promise three months ago, when he said that people across America could expect to be able to celebrate with friends and family on the Fourth of July so long as the country’s vaccination programme and coronavirus measures continued to restrict the spread of the virus.

“July 4th with your loved ones is the goal,” he had said. “This is not the time to let up.”

Plans for the 1,000-person strong celebration at the White House suggest that officials are confident in the progress of the country’s vaccination programme.

However, it is still unclear whether the Biden administration will reach its goal of seeing 70 per cent of Americans vaccinated by 4 July.

According to an NYT analysis, if the current pace of adult vaccination continues, the country will fall just short of the target, with an estimated 67 per cent of adults to be partly vaccinated by the holiday.

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