Although over 51 percent of Americans have already received some form of the vaccine, Biden was still hesitant to declare that the country was free to celebrate its Independence Day. He referred back to a speech he gave in March, which was widely criticized, in which he outlined “conditions” that had to be met in order to allow for “small” 4th of July gatherings.
“To celebrate our independence from this virus on July 4th with family and friends in small groups, we still have more to do in the months of May and June,” Biden said at the White House. “We all need to mask up until the number of cases goes down, until everyone has a chance to get their shot.”
Biden’s comments were criticized for putting too much reliance on the strength of the vaccine itself, instead of the easier and more natural development of herd immunity being much more likely to end the pandemic than everyone simply getting vaccinated. Brett Giroir, a retired admiral and former assistant secretary of health, said that “I don’t know what reality he’s talking about. It seemed very disconnected from the reality and where we are and what the science says. Science says small outdoor gatherings are fine.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Americans are already hosting gatherings of their own, often outside and small, but sometimes larger, and are going to continue doing so regardless of Biden’s arbitrary orders.
“It was advice for an alternate universe,” McConnell declared. “The president and his advisers may need to get out more. Americans are already getting together in small groups outdoors in blue states and red states, in small towns and big cities. The country is not locked down waiting for July 4th.”
Biden has frequently tried to take credit for the ongoing vaccination process, even though all three of the vaccines currently being utilized – produced by the companies Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna – were all developed under the Trump Administration, several months before Biden took over. Biden, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, has at times presented contradictory messages when it comes to wearing masks and getting the vaccine. They have often implied that those who get vaccinated must still wear masks, thus bringing into question the usefulness of the vaccine.