WASHINGTON — As Americans gather to celebrate Independence Day across the country, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are hosting their own party on the South Lawn of the White House.
The celebration will include a barbecue for military families and essential workers, whom Biden is expected to thank for their continued service to the country throughout the pandemic.
In remarks ahead of a fireworks display, Biden is expected to highlight the country’s falling coronavirus case numbers and widespread vaccination uptake, while taking time to recognize the more than 600,000 Americans who’ve died from coronavirus during the pandemic, according to a White House official.
In March, Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated to “make this Independence Day truly special.” He urged Americans to recognize July 4 as a date to “begin to mark our independence from this virus,” after setting a benchmark that the country should reach 70% of adults getting vaccinated, a threshold many public health officials say is enough for herd immunity.
Since Biden’s announcement, the administration has been promoted vaccines in a blitz across media and working with states and localities to increase access and raise public trust.
The country fell slightly short of Biden’s target, with 67% of adults receiving at least one dose by the holiday. Vaccination rates were not even across the country; 20 states and the District of Columbia exceeded Biden’s benchmark, with 30 states lagging.
This story will be updated.
Follow Matthew Brown online @mrbrownsir.