In another plea to get Americans vaccinated for the coronavirus, US President Joe Biden announced a five-point plan Tuesday to target locations where low vaccination rates are colliding with the surging Delta variant -- sometimes with deadly effect.
Biden met his COVID-19 experts and said in a televised address that "now we need to go community to community, door-to-door, literally knocking on doors" to get the vaccine to Americans.
Biden said that half of all coronavirus cases now come from the Delta variant, which is more easily transmissible and potentially more dangerous. And experts say the vast majority of current deaths and hospitalizations are occurring among those who are unvaccinated.
Biden urged younger Americans to get the vaccine, and he laid out, in general terms, how the government is tackling a "final push" to get shots into arms.
He said with mass vaccination sites winding down, 42,000 pharmacies around the nation would be stepping up work to get anyone vaccinated, even those just going to buy toothpaste.
He said his COVID-19 task force would put a renewed emphasis on those getting shots at doctors' offices. That includes allowing children aged 12 to 18 to get the vaccine when they get back-to-school checkups or when student-athletes get physicals to play sports.
Biden said his administration would be working with employers to allow workers to get the vaccine at job sites and will be sending mobile vaccination clinics to special events, festivals, places of worship, "where ever people are gathered."
He said a "COVID Surge Response Team," made up of workers from the Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, would travel to places where the Delta variant is hitting hardest among the unvaccinated.
The total number of cases recorded in the US is now just under 33 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, with the number of infections on the rise in the states of Arkansas and Florida. The US death toll stands at 605,000. Johns Hopkins reports that 157 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, a bit short of Biden's goal of 160 million fully vaccinated by July 4.
Biden touted that by the end of this week, 160 million Americans will be fully vaccinated, a bit later than his original goal, but still up from the roughly 3 million fully vaccinated when he took office.
He also mentioned that cases and deaths are down 90% from January.
And he once again compared getting the vaccine to a "war-time effort."
"It sounds corny," he said, "but it's a patriotic thing to do."