President Biden’s administration is highlighting an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States, amid a surge in new coronavirus cases in parts of the country due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
“The past week has been our strongest week of vaccinations since early June, in terms of first-time shots,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain tweeted on Sunday.
Klain, a longtime adviser to Biden, made his statement as he retweeted a tweet from Cyrus Shahpar, the White House‘s COVID-19 Data Director. Shahpar spotlighted that “+816K doses reported administered over yesterdays total, including 517K newly vaccinated. Since the week of July 5, there has been a steady increase in the number of people who are getting vaccinated in the U.S.”
It was the second day in a row that the two White House officials touted the rising COVID vaccination rates.
Due to the surge in coronavirus cases and imposition of new mask mandates in various spots around the country, there appears to be more interest now in getting the shots. According to the CDC, 69.9% of adults in the country had received at least one vaccination shot as of Saturday, just shy of the president’s original July 4 target of 70%.
Nearly a month after Biden celebrated independence from coronavirus with 1,000 mask-free people at a July 4th White House fete, the CDC has now advised a return to masking to indoors for even vaccinated people living in areas of high transmission. Certain localities, including the U.S. House of Representatives, have followed with new mask mandates.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has reversed course on its initial hesitancy regarding federal mandates for vaccinations, with the Department of Veterans Affairs first mandating vaccinations for its medical personnel. Then Biden announced Thursday he will require federal workers to be vaccinated or submit to frequent testing.
The crackdown is in response to the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide fueled by the more contagious delta variant. On Thursday, the U.S. had almost 80,000 new COVID-19 cases. That’s still well below the early January peak of nearly 300,000 new daily cases, but a stark rise from a month ago when daily cases were under 10,000 in the United States.