Biden: ‘Lives will be lost’ due to delta threat, promotes vaccination


President Biden said Friday that “lives will be lost” because of the fast-moving delta variant of the coronavirus but that it shouldn’t dampen July Fourth celebrations for the vaccinated.

“I am concerned that people who have not gotten vaccinated have the capacity to catch the variant and spread the variant to other people who have not been vaccinated,” he told White House reporters. “I am not concerned there is going to be a major outbreak — in other words, that we’re going to have another epidemic nationwide. But I am concerned lives will be lost.”

Mr. Biden fell short of his goal of 70% of U.S. adults being vaccinated against COVID-19 by Independence Day. Federal data show 67% of adults have received at least one dose as the rollout stalls. The most eager people have been vaccinated, forcing federal and state officials to convince or root out the leery.

“It doesn’t hurt. It’s accessible, it’s free, it’s available,” Mr. Biden said. “Don’t think about yourself, think about your family. Think about those around you.”

Some areas of the country, including Los Angeles, are reimposing mask rules to thwart the spread among all persons despite federal guidance that says fully immunized persons don’t need face coverings in most settings.

The president said he won’t let fears about the variant ruin his holiday.

“There are great things happening,” Mr. Biden said. “People are going to ballgames and doing good things.”

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