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Biden to deliver hopeful message on state of pandemic ahead of Memorial Day weekend


President Joe Biden on Friday will deliver a message of hope and optimism on the declining number of Covid-19 cases and increased vaccination rates ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, according to a White House official.

Biden will travel to Virginia and outline the progress the nation has made across the country, as well as in Virginia specifically, in combating the pandemic since Biden took office, the official said. The President will urge Americans who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 to get the shot.

Biden and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, are scheduled to deliver remarks at a business in Alexandria to celebrate the progress Virginia has made in the fight against Covid-19. Later in the day, Biden and first lady Jill Biden will deliver remarks at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton.

Earlier this week, the White House touted the US reaching the milestone of having more than 50% of American adults fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Nearly 166 million people — 49.9% of the US population — have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 133 million people — 40% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to data published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ten states have now reached the Biden administration’s goal of vaccinating at least 70% of adults against Covid-19 by July 4 with at least one dose, according to data published by the CDC. Biden has also said he wants 160 million US adults fully vaccinated by July 4.

Ahead of Biden’s trip to Virginia, the White House official pointed to the declining Covid-19 case rate, death rate and hospitalization rate in the state. Virginia saw about 30 cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days, down about 21% from the previous 7 days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There was about one death per 100,000 people in the last 7 days, which was down about 21% from the previous 7 days, according to JHU’s data.

Virginia has received more than $247 million in federal funding for community vaccination sites, according to the official, and there are more than 360 federally funded National Guard members supporting the state’s Covid-19 response, 1,000 pharmacies across Virginia participating in the federal pharmacy program and a community vaccination site run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Norfolk. The Biden administration is also delivering vaccine doses directly to 11 community health centers in Virginia.

To vaccinate the rest of the population, White House officials have been focused on increasing accessibility to the vaccines, combating misinformation and assisting those without the resources to get vaccinated. The administration is racing to get the rest of the population vaccinated as variants spread throughout the country and threaten to derail the progress the nation has made in combating the pandemic.

Data obtained exclusively by CNN shows that interest in getting vaccinated against Covid-19 increased right after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced two weeks ago that people who are fully vaccinated could take off their face masks indoors and outdoors, except in rare circumstances.

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