CINCINNATI, Ohio – President Joe Biden on Wednesday expressed his acute frustration at the slowing COVID-19 vaccination rate in the United States and pleaded that it was “extremely important” for Americans to step up and get vaccinated against the virus when it reappears.
Biden, speaking at a televised town hall in Cincinnati, said the public health crisis had largely turned into a plight of the unvaccinated, as the spread of the delta variant led to an increase in infections across the country.
“We have a pandemic for those who haven’t been vaccinated – it’s that basic, that simple,” he told CNN mayor.
The president also expressed optimism that children under 12 will be approved for vaccination in the coming months. But he displayed his exasperation that so many eligible Americans are still reluctant to get the vaccine.
“If you are vaccinated you are not going to be hospitalized, you will not be in the IC unit and you are not going to die,” Biden said at the Mount St. Joseph University forum. “So it’s extremely important that… we all act like Americans who care about our fellow Americans.”
Hospitalizations and deaths in the United States affect almost all the unvaccinated. But COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled in the United States in two weeks amid a wave of vaccine misinformation that is straining hospitals, exhausting doctors and pushing clergy into the fray.
In the United States, the seven-day moving average for new daily cases has risen over the past two weeks to more than 37,000 on Tuesday, from less than 13,700 on July 6, according to data from Johns Hopkins University . Health officials blame the delta variant and slowing vaccination rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 56.2% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The president noted that the hike has become so worrisome that even his critics oppose misinformation about vaccines.
Biden made an indirect reference to prominent conservative figures at Fox News who have “had an altar call” and are now speaking more openly to their skeptical guests about the benefits of getting the shot. Sean Hannity recently told viewers, “I believe in the science of vaccination” and urged them to take the disease seriously. Steve Doocy, who co-hosts “Fox & Friends,” told viewers this week that the vaccination “will save your life.”
Biden, who visited Ohio as he tried to build support for his economic agenda, visited a union training center ahead of town hall.
The trip comes as the fate of its infrastructure proposal remains uncertain after Senate Republicans rejected a $ 1 trillion plan in a key test vote on Wednesday. A bipartisan group of 22 senators said in a joint statement after the vote that they were close to reaching a deal and called for a postponement until Monday.
Biden expressed his confidence in the outcome, saying, “It’s a good thing and I think we’ll get there.”
As lawmakers wrestle over the details of this proposal on Capitol Hill, Biden argued that his nearly $ 4 trillion package was needed to rebuild the middle class and support the economic growth the country has experienced over the years. first six months of his presidency.
First, Biden visited the IBEW / NECA Electrical Training Center located west of Cincinnati. He had the opportunity to closely observe interns doing five-year apprenticeships to learn the ins and outs of the kind of skilled, well-paying union jobs he says will be in more demand if his plan comes to fruition.
“There’s a reason union workers are the best trained,” Biden said, as he met apprentices on five-year training programs.
It was his third trip to the state – one he lost by around 8 points in 2020, but one that remains critical to the Democratic Party’s political future and a key test of whether Biden’s economic proposals have the broad appeal the White House is hoping for.
With presidential visits to cities in Ohio, Columbus, Cleveland and now Cincinnati, the White House is betting that Biden’s policies are popular with independent voters and that the electorate will reward a president and a party trying to resolve their issues. problems.
The state faces a rocky Senate election next year with the retirement of Republican Rob Portman, who helped negotiate the infrastructure plan that now faces an uncertain future in the equally divided Senate.
The president’s visit took him to the dangerously obsolete Brent Spence Bridge, a bottleneck for trucks and emergency vehicles between Ohio and Kentucky that the two former presidents unsuccessfully vowed to replace.
Biden made a passing reference to the structure, telling town hall attendees it was time to “fix that damn bridge.”