By Jeff Mason
(Reuters) – Most U.S. adults are vaccinated, but COVID-19 cases are on the rise. The economy is accelerating but inflation is looming. Bipartite cooperation has improved but political resentment is high.
More than five months after Joe Biden’s presidency began, the United States has changed in several ways, with a healthier business outlook and a pandemic – at least in many parts of the country – increasingly under control.
But as the world’s largest economy celebrates its 245th birthday on July 4, Independence Day won’t be the full celebration Biden had hoped for or promised.
A White House goal of vaccinating 70% of adults against COVID-19 with at least one hit will not be met, and legislation to fix the country’s infrastructure is still a long way off on Biden’s desk.
Biden will celebrate with a 1,000-person party on the White House lawn and fireworks at the National Mall. Historians have said that he and the country have a reason to do so.
“Compare where we are compared to a year ago economically, in terms of public health, in terms of national psyche, it’s almost like living in a different country,” said presidential historian Michael Beschloss.
He said Biden had to tread carefully between celebrating progress in the pandemic and declaring: Mission accomplished.
“If Biden had been too hasty to declare the pandemic over, which he did not do, it would be difficult to ask Americans for future sacrifices and that would also make Democrats politically vulnerable next year if the pandemic recurs. one way or another, ”Beschloss said.
However, problems can emerge. The U.S. government said Thursday that daily cases of the coronavirus had increased over the past week, driven by increases in the Midwest and Southeast where vaccination rates are low and the highly contagious Delta variant, found for the first time in India, is spreading.
“We are celebrating, as a country, at the same time as we recognize the fact that we are in a dire situation for those who have not been vaccinated,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert. “And the message is: get vaccinated.”
As a sign of economic progress, the Labor Department said on Friday that U.S. companies hired the most workers in 10 months in June.
But the economy is far from returning to normal, with 7 million fewer jobs than in February 2020, before the pandemic. Meanwhile, some companies are struggling to hire the employees they need as workers struggling with child care or worried about illness choose to stay home https://www.reuters.com/ business / livings-not-easy-worker-hungry-us-businesses-this-summer-2021-06-30.
Vanderbilt University historian Thomas Alan Schwartz noted that the country’s challenges have changed since the tumultuous tenure of former President Donald Trump.
“Our problems are really different now,” he said. “I think Joe Biden’s America is a quieter, gentler place.”
Protests over racial disparities fell after massive unrest in 2020 over the death of George Floyd, a black man, and the white police officer accused of murdering him was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.
Biden commemorated https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-visit-tulsa-massacre-site-us-confronts-racial-legacy-2021-06-01 the 1921 massacre of black Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month and signed a bill making June 19 a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of slaves.
At the same time, threats from local extremism, especially white supremacists, are on the rise, Biden’s Justice Department said.
And a Republican-led fight against “Critical Race Theory” has turned the teaching of American history into a new political battleground https://www.reuters.com/world/us/partisan-war -over-teaching-history-racism- Stokes-tensions-us-schools-2021-06-23.
Despite Biden’s promise to get Republicans and Democrats in Congress to work together – and massive popular support – legislation on infrastructure, police reform and gun safety has still not passed its mark. office.
The storming of Capitol Hill on January 6 by Trump supporters, in which five people died, including a Capitol police officer, remains an open wound. House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has criticized members of his party who are cooperating with a committee set up by Democratic President Nancy Pelosi to investigate the insurgency.
Still, McCarthy attended an event at the White House on Friday to honor the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, the winners of the 2020 World Series. Baseball is America’s quintessential pastime.
“As we fight this pandemic and celebrate the return of fans to stadiums, we are celebrating something else: a national achievement,” Biden said, praising the way frontline workers, friends, families and neighbors are coming together. come together to watch over each other. “Together, as a nation, we have proven that it is never a good bet to bet against America.”
Asked about the future of Biden-backed infrastructure spending in Congress, McCarthy told a reporter he was only there to celebrate the Dodgers.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Daniel Wallis)