US President Joseph Biden Thursday warned all unvaccinated Americans that “the time for waiting is over,” as he launched a six-part strategy to combat the SARS-Cov-2 Delta variant.
The country is going through a rise in COVID-19 cases which is attributed to this new, more contagious strain. According to the latest data, 62.5% of the population aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated.
Biden insisted: “My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see?”
The president added that “we've made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing.”
The Government's plan includes a requirement that all federal government employees and contractors be fully vaccinated, while an emergency rule for businesses with 100 or more workers is being devised so that those who do not get the immunizers are tested at least once a week.
Biden said he believed these measures are going to take time to have full impact, but if we implement them, I believe and the scientists indicate, that the months ahead we can reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans, decrease hospitalizations and deaths and allow our children to go to school safely and keep our economy strong by keeping businesses open.
We need to do more with vaccines, it is not about freedom or personal choice, Biden went on as he outlined his administration's strategy to fight “those who are undermining public health.
Many of us are frustrated by the roughly 80 million Americans who are not vaccinated, Biden added. We have the means to fight the virus if we increase the rate of vaccination, he went on.
In a related development, the US' Department of Homeland Security announced it was doubling monetary penalties for people caught in violation of the federal mask mandate aboard airplanes or trains or even at airports.
We appreciate the majority of travelers each day who voluntarily follow the requirement, but find this action necessary to maximize the protections for those who use and work within the transportation system, and to contain COVID-19, Transportation Security Administration chief David Pekoske said in a statement. By doubling the range of penalties, we seek to reinforce the importance of voluntary adherence.”
Pekoske also announced the mask mandate on public transportation would be extended until Jan. 18, 2022.