“There is so much toxic politics around Covid that it hinders sensible action,” he said. “Obviously it makes sense to require proof of vaccination in various settings, but it has become a political lightning rod. “
Dr Frieden and other experts have said they fear that if the Delta variant continues to circulate, it mutates in a way that makes even vaccines vulnerable. It seems to be happening elsewhere in the world already; even countries like South Korea and Israel, where the virus seemed to be under control, have new clusters of diseases.
“Compared to many other countries, we are in a much safer situation,” said Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University. But, she added, “I’m really afraid that as America takes advantage of its freedoms, we will forget the rest of the world, and it might come back and bite us. “
When Mr Biden announced his July 4 vaccination target in early May, he said the meeting would demonstrate that the United States had taken “a serious step towards a return to normalcy.” For a lot of people, this seems to be the case. The president then said Americans could congregate in backyards for small Independence Day barbecues; his rally of 1,000 guests is intended in part to show the country that his administration has exceeded expectations even though vaccinations have stalled.
While Mr Biden has repeatedly spoken of “independence from the virus,” Dr Arthur L. Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the president should pay attention to the language he uses.
“Before I go out and have my fireworks and sip piña coladas on the White House veranda, I would say, ‘I have to clarify, as president, that we have some major unresolved challenges,’ Dr Caplan said. “I would say, ‘We are doing well at halftime. “”
Dr Anthony S. Fauci, the president’s senior medical adviser on the pandemic, said there was nothing contradictory in the administration’s message.