Biden marks ‘independence’ from Covid, but pandemic remains a threat

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WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Joe Biden celebrated US Independence Day on Sunday with an upbeat assessment of a country he said is roaring back to post-pandemic life, even if Covid-19 has yet to be fully “vanquished.”

Speaking before a festive crowd of 1,000 guests on the White House South Lawn, Biden drew a comparison between the declaration of independence from the British Empire in 1776 and today s rapid recovery from the coronavirus.

“Two hundred and forty five years ago, we declared our independence from a distant king. Today, we are closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus,” he told the crowd of invited military members and essential workers.

“We ve gained the upper hand against this virus,” he said. But he added, “Don t get me wrong: Covid-19 has not been vanquished. We all know powerful variants have emerged, like the Delta variant.”

Biden paid tribute to those who have lost their lives, with the staggering number of deaths in the United States now at more than 600,000.

But he struck an overwhelmingly optimistic note, suggesting that under his leadership the country — bitterly and at times violently divided during the Donald Trump presidency — was “coming back together.”

“Over the last year, we have lived through some of our darkest days,” Biden said. “We are about to see our brightest future.”

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