Biden to discuss Covid response after US misses vaccination target – live – The Guardian
11.38am EDT 11:38
Hundreds of anti-abortion protesters lined blocks along a four-lane thoroughfare called Indian School Road in Phoenix, Arizona, enduring the suck of whooshing cars and blistering late June desert heat to advocate for their cause – effectively, theocracy in America.
Rising temperatures promised a sweaty, nauseous apex of 104F for the protest in front of Camelback Family Planning and abortion clinic. Their ranks were defined by gruesome and bloody signs, some taller than the protesters who held them, a microphone and an amplifier.
“This is a slaughterhouse!” a man’s voice growled. Some protesters leaned into car windows going into the clinic parking lot. “This is unnatural for a mother to do this to a child!” one cried.
This is the national conference for Operation Save America (OSA), one in a network of extreme anti-abortion groups gaining increasing sway with rightwing lawmakers. In some sense, they’re not news – their homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, misogynist leadership has harassed abortion providers for decades.
But, like the world around them, they’ve evolved.
Once at the fringes, but moving into legislative efforts are protesters like these, abortion “abolitionists” who advocate for women and doctors to be prosecuted under murder statutes. Their name is an appropriation of a term used by anti-slavery organizers before the American civil war.
11.16am EDT 11:16
In his remarks this afternoon, Joe Biden will also note that nearly 160 million Americans are expected to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus by the end of the week.
As of today, 157.3 million Americans are fully vaccinated, representing 47.4% of the total population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden had previously set a goal of having 160 million Americans fully vaccinated by US independence day on July 4, but the country fell short of that objective.
11.01am EDT 11:01
Biden to outline renewed vaccination outreach efforts amid concerns about delta variant
Joe Biden will use his speech this afternoon to outline five major areas where his administration is doubling down on community outreach efforts to get more Americans vaccinated, a senior administration official said.
The White House official said, “After the President is briefed by his COVID-19 response team, he will speak to the American people about the strong progress that the country has made in recovery because of its robust vaccination campaign, as well as the importance of every eligible American getting vaccinated, especially as the Delta variant continues to grow among unvaccinated people across the country.”
The official noted that Biden will describe how his administration is continuing to work with state and local leaders “to get more Americans vaccinated by making vaccines available in more health care settings, and respond to hotspots”.
Specifically, the White House is working to distribute more vaccine doses to primary care doctors and pediatricians, so local leaders in the medical community can directly explain the benefits of the vaccines to their patients.
The administration is also expanding targeted community outreach efforts, mobile vaccine clinics and vaccination sites at workplaces to make it as easy as possible for Americans to get their shot.
10.43am EDT 10:43
Democratic congressman Andy Kim, who famously cleaned the halls of Congress after the January 6 insurrection, is donating the suit he wore that day to the Smithsonian Institution.
In a Twitter thread, Kim described how he wore the suit on January 6 to celebrate Democrats flipping the Senate, after their two victories in the Georgia runoff races.
“I bought it to be a suit of celebration, and I thought what better way to give the suit meaning than to wear it when I confirm the electoral college and then later to the inauguration,” Kim said.
Kim noted that he only wore the suit one more time after January 6 — when he voted to impeach Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection on January 13. After that, he could barely bring himself to even look at the suit.
“In the following days, I started to receive thousands of cards from across the country,” Kim said. “They talked about the blue suit. The suit meant something different to them than it did to me.”
Kim said he hoped the suit would be one piece of an exhibit that tells the truth of January 6, as many Trump supporters try to deny the reality of that violent day.
“I told the Smithsonian yes to donating the blue suit because the telling of the story of [January 6] isn’t optional, it is necessary,” Kim said. “We cannot heal as a nation unless we have truth. Let truth be truth.”
10.18am EDT 10:18
Six months after January 6, Republican efforts to deny the Capitol attack are working
It has been described as America’s darkest day since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But whereas 9/11 is solemnly memorialised in stone, a concerted effort is under way to airbrush the US Capitol insurrection from history.
Six months on from the mayhem on 6 January, when a mob of Donald Trumpsupporters stormed the heart of American democracy to disrupt the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory, Republicans and rightwing media have variously attempted to downplay the attack or blame it on leftwing infiltrators and the FBI.
Interviews with diehard Trump fans suggest that the riot denialism is working. Many refuse to condemn the insurrectionists who beat police officers, smashed windows and called for then Vice-President Mike Pence to be hanged. The swirl of conspiracy theories, combined with Trump’s deluded claims of a stole election, raise fears of a replay that could be even more violent.
“Rightwing media and some Republicans, including Republicans in the Senate and the House, are trying to make it seem as though what was a siege on the Capitol was not actually a siege on the Capitol,” said Monika McDermott, a political science professor at Fordham University in New York.
“We all saw it. We saw them breaking down doors. We saw our members of Congress running for cover and trying to get away. We saw Mike Pence being shuttled out of the chamber. All of these frightening things that we saw happen are now being denied or being or being laid at the feet of Antifa or the FBI or some other source, which just seems at this point ludicrous.”
9.59am EDT 09:59
Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the White House pandemic response team, acknowledged that lower vaccination rates among younger Americans contributed to the US missing its July 4 vaccination goal.
Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, Zients said the country still had “a lot to celebrate” for its independence day, noting that 67% of American adults have received at least one vaccine dose.
He went on to say, “Younger people, particularly those in their 20’s, have felt less vulnerable to the disease and therefore less eager to get shots.”
Zients noted the dangers for unvaccinated Americans as the delta variant spreads, saying, “We need to continue to vaccinate everyone, particularly young people, because what we know is, if you are vaccinated, you’re protected. And if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not protected. And that’s particularly important for everyone, including young people, in light of the delta variant.”
In his address over the weekend to mark US independence day, Joe Biden urged all Americans to get vaccinated as quickly as possible, arguing it is the “patriotic” thing to do.
“We all know powerful variants have emerged, like the Delta variant, but the best defense against these variants is to get vaccinated,” the president told an audience at the White House, where invited frontline workers gathered to celebrate the holiday.
“My fellow Americans, it’s the most patriotic thing you can do. So, please, if you haven’t gotten vaccinated, do it. Do it now for yourself, for your loved ones, for your community, and for your country.”
Biden’s speech came as vaccination rates lag in many Republican-led states that he did not win in November, intensifying concerns that political polarization is affecting the country’s pandemic response.
at 9.40am EDT
9.25am EDT 09:25
The Guardian’s Edward Helmore reports:
Several Republican governors with lagging vaccine rates in their states have urged residents to accept the shots as the Biden administration comes under pressure to reopen US borders to overseas visitors.
The Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, West Virginia’s Jim Justice and Spencer Cox of Utah warned against vaccine hesitancy, which some disease experts, including the White House chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said could create “two types of America”.
“We are in a race,” Hutchinson said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. About 32% of people in Arkansas are fully vaccinated, compared with 47.9% nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. “If we stopped right here, and we didn’t get a greater per cent of our population vaccinated, then we’re going to have trouble in the next school year and over the winter.” The solution, he said, “is the vaccinations”.
Justice told ABC’s This Week: “Red states probably have a lot of people that are very, very conservative in their thinking and they think, ‘Well, I don’t have to do that.’ But they’re not thinking right.”
9.19am EDT 09:19
Biden to speak on Covid response after US misses July 4 vaccination goal
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
Joe Biden will speak this afternoon on his administration’s ongoing efforts to get Americans vaccinated against coronavirus.
The speech comes two days after the country failed to meet Biden’s goal of having 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4, the US independence day.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67.1% of American adults have now received at least one vaccine dose, and 58.2% of adults are fully vaccinated.
However, there are large regional disparities in vaccination rates. The CDC director, Dr Rochelle Walensky, noted last week that there are about 1,000 US counties where less than 30% of the community is vaccinated.
As the more highly contagious delta variant of coronavirus continues to spread, those communities could be at much higher risk of outbreaks, as Dr Anthony Fauci warned in an interview on Sunday.
“Fortunately, we have a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated. So it’s going to be regional,” Fauci told NBC News. “We’re going to see, and I’ve said, almost two types of America.”