President Biden says COVID -19 pandemic is entering a new troubling phase

WASHINGTON – Biden administration officials acknowledged Thursday the pandemic that appeared to be waning a month ago has entered a new, troubling phase.

Administration officials are ramping up the urgency of their message on COVID-19 as the dangerous Delta variant continues to spread.

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden said the two dozen members of his Covid team were examining the surge in cases and hospitalizations among the still-sizeable portion of the country that remains unvaccinated, and determining whether new mask recommendations were necessary.

“We follow the science. What’s happening now is all the major scientific operations in this country and the 25-person group that we put together are looking at all the possibilities of what’s happening now. We have a pandemic among the non-vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, you are safe,” Biden said later Thursday during a meeting with union officials.

The administration is also sending $100 million to rural health clinics to boost vaccine education and access, and it’s using another $1.6 billion in the American Rescue Plan for testing and other resources in high-risk areas. 

Only 48.8 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated, and the seven-day average pace of full vaccinations is around 252,000 – far below the 500,000 daily average seen at the beginning of July.