President Biden sent mixed messages in remarks Monday, announcing that most adults in the US will be eligible for vaccinations in three weeks, but also saying that states should pause their reopening efforts.
Speaking at the White House, the president said “at least 90 percent of all adults in this country will be eligible to be vaccinated by April 19.”
Biden also said his administration is working on an initiative to make sure a vaccination site is within five miles of 90 percent of all Americans by April 19.
“Three weeks from today 90 percent of adult people who are 18 and over will be eligible to get vaccinated and 90 percent of all Americans will be living within five miles of a place they can get a shot,” he said.
As he walked away after his remarks, a reporter shouted out to ask if he believed states should pause reopenings.
“Yes,” Biden replied.
The president, speaking shortly after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned of “impending doom” as COVID cases begin rising again, addressed the nation’s state and local leaders in his address.
“I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mass mandate. Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down. And businesses should require masks as well. The failure to take this virus seriously precisely what got us through this mess in the first place – risk more cases, more deaths,” he said.
He also called on Americans to continue to abide by safety precautions like wearing a mask, social distancing, washing their hands – and getting vaccinated.
“I need the American people to do their part as well – mask up, mask up. It’s a patriotic duty. It is the only way we ever get back to normal. To cheer together in stadiums full of fans, to gather together at holidays again safely, go to graduations, weddings,” Biden said.
While more shots are getting in to people’s arms, Biden said “now is not the time to let down.”
“It is time to do what we do best as a country, our duty, our jobs. Take care of one another and fight this to the finish. We can all do this, but don’t let up now, don’t let up now,” he said.