“It was a long winter, but the clouds have broken. We’re not at the finish line yet, but summer has never felt more full of possibility. And doesn’t the air smell so much sweeter without our masks?” First Lady Jill Biden said in her hometown of Philadelphia on Sunday, previewing a message her husband will deliver at the White House to mark Independence Day.
In many ways, Biden is locking in political credit for his intense focus on the pandemic early in his presidency. Though he profited from the vaccine developed during the Trump administration, his management of the crisis contrasts sharply with his predecessor’s neglect — Donald Trump spent the final weeks of his presidency largely focused on trying to overturn his election loss. But is Biden’s “mission accomplished” moment coming too soon?
After dropping to levels unheard of in the winter, Covid-19 cases are rising again. Public health officials are deeply concerned about the more contagious Delta variant. Millions of Americans who refuse to be vaccinated — mostly in conservative states where many disdain advice from establishment scientists — remain at grave risk.
America’s fight against the coronavirus will not end on the 4th of July. But it may be a turning point. After all, the original Independence Day, 245 years ago, was only the start of the process of building a new nation.
Cue the fireworks
Another great American tradition
Fireworks and flags aren’t the only American traditions on the 4th of July. Speed-eating champion Joey Chestnut on Sunday broke his own world record by devouring 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes during Nathan’s annual Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York on Sunday. (Last year, he downed 75.)