CINCINNATI, Ohio (AP) – President Joe Biden on Wednesday expressed his frustration with the slowing COVID-19 vaccination rate in the US and said it was “hugely important” for Americans to get vaccinated against the virus, when it rises again.
Speaking on a televised city hall in Cincinnati, Biden said the public health crisis has largely turned into a plight for the unvaccinated as the spread of the Delta variant has led to a surge in infections across the country.
“We have a pandemic for those who haven’t got the vaccination – it’s that simple,” he said at CNN City Hall.
The President was also optimistic that children under the age of 12 will be allowed to be vaccinated in the coming months. But he showed his despair that so many eligible Americans are still reluctant to get a chance.
“If you’re vaccinated, you won’t be hospitalized, you won’t be in the IC unit, and you won’t die,” Biden said on the forum at Mount St. Joseph University. “That is why it is extremely important that … we all behave like Americans who care about our fellow Americans.”
For over 80 minutes, Biden asked questions on many of the day’s most pressing issues, including his infrastructure package, his voting rights, and the composition of the congressional commission that will investigate the January 6th uprising at the Capitol. He also thought about what it is like to be president, saying he is sometimes amazed at the pomp that comes with the job and the weight of being “the last man in the room” left, to make discouraging decisions.
Six months into his presidency, taming the coronavirus remains his top priority.
Hospital stays and deaths in the US are almost all unvaccinated. But COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled in the US in two weeks amid a onslaught of vaccine misinformation that is straining hospitals, exhausting doctors and clergymen into the battle.
In the US, the 7-day moving average for new cases every day rose to more than 37,000 on Tuesday in the past two weeks, up from less than 13,700 on July 6, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 56.2% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The president noted that the surge has become so worrying that even his critics are taking action against disinformation about vaccines.
Biden was indirectly referring to high profile Conservative figures at Fox News who “had an altar call” and are now speaking more openly with their skeptical guests about the benefits of vaccination. Sean Hannity recently told viewers “I believe in the science of vaccination” and urged them to take the disease seriously. Steve Doocy, who hosts “Fox & Friends”, told viewers this week that the vaccination “will save your life”.
Before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington, Biden told reporters that he was “glad they had the courage to say what they said”.
When asked about rising prices, Biden admitted that “there will be short-term inflation” when the economy recovers from the pandemic, but said it was “very unlikely that long-term inflation will get out of hand”.
Biden, who had traveled to Ohio to build support for its economic agenda, attended a union training center outside City Hall.
The trip comes as the fate of its infrastructure proposal remains unclear after Senate Republicans rejected a $ 1 trillion blueprint na key test vote Wednesday. A bipartisan group of 22 senators said in a joint statement after the vote that they were on the verge of reaching an agreement and requested a delay until Monday.
Confident about the result, Biden said, “It’s a good thing and I think we will do it.”
While lawmakers on Capitol Hill argue over the details of this proposal, Biden argued that his nearly $ 4 trillion package is needed to rebuild the middle class and sustain the country’s economic growth for the first six months of his presidency .
The President’s visit brought him near the dangerously outdated Brent Spence Bridge – a bottleneck for trucks and emergency vehicles between Ohio and Kentucky, the replacement of which the last two Presidents promised unsuccessfully.
Biden made a cursory hint of the structure and told town hall visitors it was time to “fix that damn bridge of yours.”
He delved into the personal as he answered a question about the scourge of drug addiction, noting that he was “so damn proud” of his son Hunter Biden, who published a memoir about his battles with substance abuse. The president also noted that he felt a little embarrassed about some of the fringe benefits associated with the office. He caused laughter when he said he had told some White House staff not to come for breakfast. The real reason: The president likes to eat breakfast in his clothes.
Biden defended the filibuster against repeated questions from CNN host Don Lemon why he believes that a legislative tactic once used to protect racist politics must be protected, according to some critics.
He said he’s trying to bring the country together to protect the right to vote and he doesn’t want “the debate to be just about whether or not we have a filibuster”. Biden said that if the Democrats removed the filibuster, “you will wreak havoc throughout Congress and nothing will be done.”
Back in Washington, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi turned down two Republicans on Wednesday was selected by House of Representatives GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve on a committee investigating the January 6th Capitol insurrection. McCarthy said the GOP will not participate in the investigation if the Democrats do not accept the members he has appointed.
Lemon asked how Biden could trust Republicans and Democrats to come together on anything if they couldn’t even agree to investigate the brazen attack on the U.S. Capitol in 200 years.
Biden replied simply, “These people,” an allusion to the audience at the forum and his trust in the Americans was capitalized. But Biden also seemed to acknowledge that the party columns in Washington had gone mad.
“I don’t care if you think I am Satan incarnate,” said Biden. “The fact is, you can’t look at the TV and say nothing happened on the 6th and listen to the people who say this is a peaceful march.”