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Biden calls on businesses to ‘step up’ as he expresses optimism about the fight against the virus.

President Biden urged Americans to remain vigilant against the coronavirus on Thursday, rallying states and private businesses to support vaccine mandates in an effort to avoid a surge in cases.

“We are heading in the right direction. We have important work to do and we can no longer give up,” Mr. Biden said in a speech at the White House. “I am calling for more business to step up . I am calling on more and more parents to get their children vaccinated when they are eligible. “

Mr Biden projected optimism Amidst a drop in new cases compared to a devastating heat wave It undermined the president’s commitment to containing the pandemic and preventing the damage it could do to the economy and schools.

The United States is now recording About 90,000 new infections a day, down more than 40 percent since August. Hospitalizations and deaths are also falling. About 70 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, and many children under the age of 12 are likely to be eligible for their shots within a few weeks.

“It’s important, it’s important progress but it’s not – now is not the time to give up,” Biden said. “We have a lot more to do.”

The president used this time to issue a warning that the pandemic was not over, an attempt to avoid a mistake made last July when he celebrated “freedom from the virus” on the Fourth of July. Nearly 2,000 Americans are still dying every day as the country enters winter.

Mr Biden, noting “66 million, still an unacceptably high number of non-vaccinated people”, sought to encourage private businesses to implement vaccine mandates that have become the focus of Republican attacks.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, issued an executive order earlier this week Barring virtually any coronavirus vaccine mandate in the state. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, also a Republican, threatened good areas mandating vaccines for government employees, complicating the administration’s efforts to curb the pandemic.

“Vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us,” Biden said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration presented the initial text of its emergency temporary standard to the Office of Management and Budget earlier this week. It will likely go through a weeks-long interagency review process before it is issued to companies, and some businesses have said they are waiting for guidance before the mandate can be implemented.

Mr Biden also spoke about the administration’s plans to distribute booster shots to vulnerable Americans. The Food and Drug Administration has already authorized booster shots for many people who received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago.

An advisory committee of the FDA is discussing Thursday Is it recommended that a third dose of Moderna Vaccine be authorized For multiple recipients of the vaccine.

“Boosters are free, I will say it again, free, available and convenient to obtain,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Biden also said the FDA is still determining whether to authorize a vaccine for children aged five to 11 years, and should reach a decision “in the next few weeks”.

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