President Joe Biden said that while the U.S. has made “important progress” in battling COVID-19, the country still has to “do more” to reduce the virus’s spread and “put this pandemic behind us.”
In a press conference from the White House, Biden touted the declining COVID-19 cases and mounting vaccinations across the country, saying that case rates were dropping in 39 states and daily reported cases overall had dropped 47% over the past six weeks.
Some 66 million people who are eligible for the vaccine remain unvaccinated, according to the president, compared with nearly 100 million in July.
“That’s important progress but now is not the time to let up,” Biden said, adding that the country needs to “do more” to vaccinate all of those who are eligible. “We’re in a very critical period as we work to turn the corner.”
“Everyone who hasn’t gotten vaccinated: Please get vaccinated,” Biden added. “That’s how we put this pandemic behind us.”
Even as coronavirus cases across the country have dropped since September, the U.S. is still seeing an average of over 88,000 new reported cases per day and over 1,800 people dying daily from COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, over 719,000 people have died in the U.S.
Just 57% of the country has been fully vaccinated against the virus so far.
Biden applauded vaccine requirements the administration previously put in place for federal workers and contractors and others, saying “they work.” He noted that the Labor Department will soon issue a previously announced rule that companies with over 100 employees mandate regular testing for unvaccinated workers.
Biden said that once health officials approve the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, which is expected in the coming weeks, the U.S. is “ready” with enough vaccines in its supply.