The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued new guidance Tuesday recommending indoor mask use in areas with high transmission rates after new data suggested fully vaccinated individuals are not just contracting Covid, but could also potentially infect others. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday that all medical facility employees will be required to be vaccinated against Covid, becoming the first federal agency to issue a mandate. Biden is expected to speak at 4 p.m. ET.
It is unclear how the vaccine requirement for federal employees will work and whether it will extend to contract workers. The federal government employs roughly 4 million people around the country but that number is closer to 10 million when contract workers and grant workers are included. “And, he’ll make clear that his administration will continue to provide every resource needed to help communities and individuals across the country curb the spread of the delta variant, and boost vaccinations. His remarks will highlight several new measures that his administration will take to accelerate this effort,” the official added.
The highly contagious delta variant has led to a spike in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, leading health officials to re-evaluate their strategies to get people vaccinated. The biggest increase in Covid cases are in states that are lagging behind in vaccinations. An administration official said that in his speech, Biden will “send a strong message to all Americans — unvaccinated and vaccinated — about the need to stay vigilant in our fight against the virus.”
Lauren Egan is a White House reporter for NBC News based in Washington.
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