President Biden is getting tough, not only on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but also on those refusing to get vaccinated, as the daily death toll is still rising to the highest levels seen in six months, and as a total of more than 650,000 Americans have died from the virus.
In a speech at the White House late Thursday to unveil his six-part plan to fight the pandemic, President Biden repeatedly spoke about the nearly 80 million Americans, or close to a quarter of the U.S. population, who have not been vaccinated.
But it was more about blame than sympathy, as he pointed out that “almost all of the serious COVID-19 cases” were among the unvaccinated.
“Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated, even though the vaccine is safe, effective and free,” Biden said.
And regarding the 25% “minority” of unvaccinated Americans: “That 25% can cause a lot of damage — and they are.”
It’s actually a little more than 25%. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 208.1 million eligible Americans, or 73.4% of the eligible population, have received at least one dose of the two-shot vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc.
and German partner BioNTech SE
and Moderna Inc.
Eligible Americans refers to those who are at least 12 years old.
The number eligible Americans who are fully vaccinated rose to 177.3 million, or 62.5% of the eligible population, the CDC data show.
The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases was 147,816 on Thursday, down from a recent peak of 166,105 on Sept. 1 and 5% below what it was two weeks ago, according to a New York Times Tracker.
The daily average of deaths rose to 1,579, up 28% from two weeks ago and the most since March 9. The states with the highest daily death tolls were Florida, at about 338, and Texas, at about 232.
The seven-day average of people hospitalized was 100,610, up 1% from two weeks ago and the 14th-straight day that it has topped the 100,000 mark.
“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said. “So, please, do the right thing.”
Among the parts of Biden’s plan is to require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week. He also urged all state governors to require vaccination for all teachers and staff.
“The bottom line: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers,” Biden said.
The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 climbed above 223.32 million on Friday, while the death toll rose above 4.61 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. continued to lead the world, with total cases rising to 40.61 million and deaths increasing to 654,632.
India is second in cases at 33.17 million and has the third-highest death toll at 442,009, the JHU data shows.
Brazil has second highest death toll at 585,174 and is third in cases at 20.96 million.
In Europe, Russia has 187,768 deaths, followed by the U.K. with 134,166.
China, where the virus was first discovered late in 2019, has had 107,324 confirmed cases and 4,848 deaths, according to its official numbers, which are widely held to be massively underreported.