“For us there is no return to normal,” said Sabila Khan, 42, of Jersey City, N.J., who started a Facebook support group after her father died from Covid-19. “It’s very nerve-wracking when the government encourages you to just go beyond that. We lost our loved ones. We can never get past that. “
White House officials said Mr. Biden barely declared victory or “mission accomplished”, merely wanting to take stock of the gains the United States had made against the virus since taking office.
“July 4th is a moment for us to take a step back and celebrate our progress,” Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, told reporters Thursday. At the same time he said: “There is still a lot to be done. That is why we will redouble our efforts to get more and more people to get vaccinated. “
The United States has made significant strides in combating the pandemic since Mr Biden took office on January 20, ahead of an impending “dark winter”. Daily reports of new cases remain at around 12,000, the lowest since testing became widely available – up from around 200,000 on the day of inauguration, according to a New York Times database.
For the first time since March 2020, the country is seeing an average of less than 300 newly reported deaths per day, a decrease of about 20 percent over the past two weeks. Hospital stays are also falling.
However, progress has been uneven as a large proportion of US cases have occurred in a handful of hotspots, especially where vaccination rates are low. Las Vegas, rural Utah, rural Arkansas, Cheyenne, Wyo. and the Missouri Ozarks are among the places on the uptrend. And because the national trend lines are flat, experts don’t know exactly which direction they will go.
“If you looked around a few weeks ago, most of these projections were turned down; it looked like we were sailing into summer, ”said Lauren Ancel Meyers, an epidemiologist at the University of Texas at Austin. “These projections are now flattened. We don’t necessarily see signs that things are going to get up in parts of the country yet, but we’re not sure what will happen. “