the coronavirus crisis
President Biden is urging Americans not to let their guards down as COVID-19 cases decline in the United States, warning they still "could go back up."
Biden spoke during an event on Thursday celebrating that 50 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country since he took office, halfway to the administration's goal of 100 million doses in his first 100 days. But while the president hailed this milestone, he still cautioned against declaring premature victory in the pandemic.
"While COVID-19 vaccinations are up, COVID cases and hospitalizations are coming down," Biden said. "But I need to be honest with you: cases and hospitalizations could go back up with new variants as they emerge. So I want to make something really very clear: this is not a time to relax."
Biden urged Americans to continue to wash their hands, practice social distancing, and "for God's sake, wear a mask," as "the worst thing we could do now is let our guard down."
"This is not a victory lap," Biden went on to say. "Everything is not fixed. We have a long way to go."
The vaccination event came after the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday confirmed that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine candidate is safe and effective, potentially clearing the way for it to be approved for emergency use by this weekend. Biden said Thursday that should the FDA approve this third vaccine, "we have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can make it." Brendan Morrow