The number of new coronavirus cases is way down since Donald Trump left office, but the crisis isn't over.
President Joe Biden told Americans on Thursday that he has set a goal of July 4 for a partial return to normal. Several congressional Republicans responded with mockery and defiance.
In his first primetime address to the nation, Biden announced that every adult will be eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine by May 1 and that he hopes it will be safe for Americans to gather with family and friends for Independence Day.
"If we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July the 4, there's a good chance you, your families and friends, will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day," he said. "That doesn't mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together."
Since taking office on Jan. 20, Biden has made speeding up vaccination and ending the pandemic his top priority.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day average for vaccinations nationally is now over 2 million per day. This is more than 10 times Trump's promised speed of 200,000 daily vaccine doses and puts the nation easily on a path to far exceed Biden's promise of 100 million doses in his first 100 days.
Rather than credit Biden for his success in turning things around, GOP lawmakers on Thursday and Friday derided his comments and suggested they saw no reason to wait until July 4 to resume their normal lives.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn tweeted, "If every willing person in America is vaccinated for #COVID19 by May, as POTUS has said, why put our lives on hold till July the 4th?"
Biden explicitly noted that he was not promising that everyone would be vaccinated by May. "Let me be clear," he said in his address. "That doesn't mean everyone's going to have that shot immediately, but it means you'll be able to get in line beginning May 1."
And both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines require two shots, several weeks apart — plus a few more weeks of waiting before full protection is provided.
"Biden said if we get vaccinated 'There's a chance' we can celebrate July 4th…" North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn scolded. "The American people and I do NOT need your permission to celebrate July 4th and this country."
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene bragged that she and many other Americans have been ignoring COVID-19 safety rules all along anyway.
"He says everyone must get the vaccine & we might get to have a BBQ with our families on July 4th," she tweeted. "Should we tell him most of us have been doing that the past year?"
Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert compared Biden to despotic dictators.
"King George III: Take their arms and tax them! Patrick Henry: Over my dead body!" she tweeted. "Joe Biden: You might be able to celebrate Independence Day. Liberals in 2021: Thank you Dear Leader."
The nation is still seeing more than 50,000 new cases daily — and about 1,500 deaths each day.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.