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Washington Will Open Up for July 4 Fireworks. So Will Biden’s White House.


The White House event will not resemble President Donald J. Trump’s tank-festooned affairs. Last year, as coronavirus cases soared in the United States, he largely ignored pleas from health officials discouraging Americans from traveling and gathering in large groups. Mr. Trump traveled to Mount Rushmore to deliver a speech to a maskless crowd of supporters, then returned to Washington for a 35-minute fireworks show.

The Biden administration will take a more measured approach. (The fireworks show on the National Mall this year will be half as long, for starters.) The pandemic continues to kill, and federal health officials are sounding alarms about more infectious variants of the coronavirus that are circulating in the United States. The administration is struggling to encourage Americans resistant to vaccinations, including the young and healthy, to get a shot.

While traveling in Europe this week, Mr. Biden has acknowledged the tremendous loss that Americans endured during the pandemic, as the United States neared 600,000 virus deaths.

“I know that black hole that seems to consume you, that fills up your chest when you lose someone that’s close to you, that you adored,” he said on Monday in Brussels.

“Please get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he added. “We’ve had enough pain.”

Still, with a recent slowdown in vaccination rates, particularly in the South, Mr. Biden may not reach his July 4 vaccination goal. If the rate of adult vaccination continues on the seven-day average, the nation will come in just shy of his target, with about 67 percent of adults partly vaccinated by the holiday, according to a New York Times analysis.

In recent days, administration officials have started to subtly shift their responses when asked if that goal will be met.

“There’s no question it’s a bold and ambitious goal,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters last week. “Regardless of where we are on July 4, we’re not shutting down shop. On July 5, we’re going to continue to press to vaccinate more people across the country.”



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