When I ran for President, I promised to be straight with you about COVID—good news or bad. And I promised to follow the science. That strategy has worked: in my first six months in office, we’ve given out over 300 million shots—and have 60% of adults fully vaccinated and nearly 70% started on vaccinations. Cases are down, and deaths are down dramatically. One estimate suggests that our rapid deployment of the vaccine has saved 100,000 American lives—perhaps more.
Today’s announcement by the CDC—that new research and concerns about the Delta variant leads CDC to recommend a return to masking in parts of the country—is another step on our journey to defeating this virus. I hope all Americans who live in the areas covered by the CDC guidance will follow it; I certainly will when I travel to these areas.
Today, the CDC also reaffirmed that we can safely reopen schools this fall—full time. Masking students is inconvenient, I know, but will allow them to learn and be with their classmates with the best available protection.
Most importantly, today’s announcement also makes clear that the most important protection we have against the Delta variant is to get vaccinated. Although most U.S. adults are vaccinated, too many are not. While we have seen an increase in vaccinations in recent days, we still need to do better.
On Thursday, I will lay out the next steps in our effort to get more Americans vaccinated. Vaccinations are free, safe, and effective to every American. They’ve been available to every adult in this country for more than three months—at locations within 5 miles of 90% of the US population.
By following the science, and by doing our part by getting vaccinated, America can beat COVID. In the meantime, more vaccinations and mask wearing in the areas most impacted by the Delta variant will enable us to avoid the kind of lockdowns, shutdowns, school closures, and disruptions we faced in 2020. Unlike 2020, we have both the scientific knowledge and the tools to prevent the spread of this disease. We are not going back to that.