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Joe Biden touts COVID-19 progress, urges jabs for 66M unvaccinated

Joe Biden touts COVID-19 progress, urges jabs for 66M unvaccinated
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the administration's coronavirus response and the vaccination program from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 14 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Thursday made another pitch to the 66 million people who are unvaccinated around the country to get inoculated with one of the three coronavirus vaccines available.

Biden said COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are dropping across the country after a summer spike with the emergence of the Delta variant. He said, though, the pandemic in the United States continues to be fueled by those who are not vaccinated.

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The president said that while roughly 34 million people have been vaccinated since the summer, many pushed along to comply with federal and workplace mandates, more people must receive vaccines to push down cases further.

"We must do more to vaccinate the 66 million who are not vaccinated," Biden said. "Mounting data shows that [mandates] work. This should not become another issue that divides us."

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Biden said that over the past six weeks, cases have fallen 47% and hospitalizations 38%. He added that cases have decreased in 39 states and hospitalizations in 38 states.

"That's important progress," Biden said. "Now is not the time to let up."

The president said a new focus will be to not only get new people vaccinated but to protect those who already are with booster shots and ensure schools stay open by getting students and teachers vaccinated.

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New cases nationwide have declined by more than half over the past several months from a summer high of 181,000 on Aug. 31 to about 84,000 on Tuesday.

The low figure, however, is still a ways off the 8,400 cases that were reported on June 13 before surges spiked case numbers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 66% of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine dose and 57% are fully vaccinated.

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