At the start of summer, President Biden was heralding a season of "freedom" from coronavirus. At its end, he'll unveil a "robust plan to stop the spread of the delta variant and boost covid-19 vaccinations," as daily case numbers and the seven-day average of deaths are on the rise, and hospitals are overwhelmed. With mask mandates blocked in certain parts of the country, and vaccination rates far below the mid-April peak, Biden will on Thursday announce new measures related to testing, mandates, and protecting kids in schools, the White House said.
“We have more work to do, and we are still at war with the virus and with the delta variant,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, per USA Today. Therefore, "there are six steps the president's announcing, there will be new components," she added, per the Hill. Asked if these new measures would affect Americans' lives, Psaki responded, "It depends on if you're vaccinated or not." "There will be new components that sure, will of course impact people across the country, but we're also all working together to get the virus under control, to return to our normal lives."
Biden is also expected to call for a global summit on the coronavirus pandemic, addressing inequalities in vaccine access among other issues, during the United Nations General Assembly meetings the week of Sept. 20, reports the Washington Post. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and others have criticized the Biden administration's plan to back vaccine booster shots for fully vaccinated Americans amid apparent concerns about waning efficacy. Only about 3% of people in Africa are fully vaccinated, compared to more than half of people in the US, according to the University of Oxford. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)