It’s time to break out the barbecue, turn up for the parade and get ready for the fireworks. A year after many Fourth of July celebrations across the country were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of us are once again able to gather and celebrate Independence Day in true style.
Last July the New York Times estimated that as many as 80 percent of fireworks displays had been canceled across the US because of the pandemic.1 Independence day celebrations had a subdued tenor, as many were asked to participate in the festivities from the safety of their home or car and forego social gatherings. This year is decidedly more celebratory. Across much of the country, COVID-19 restrictions are easing and Fourth of July marks one of the first major holidays that we are able to spend in the company of friends and family since the pandemic began.
Let freedom ring
Just as Independence day dawns, many places across the country are starting to reopen– a sign of hope in the face of the pandemic. The U.S. is now seeing the highest level of air travel since COVID-19 began and many schools and restuarants are reopening.2
On June 15, California relaxed many of its restrictions, eliminating some social distancing requirements, capacity limits and loosening its travel advisory, among other things. In New York City, rules are also being eased around things like the size of social gatherings, social distancing and cleaning protocols for businesses.2
And, Independence Day celebrations are back on across many parts of the nation. To recognize the significance of this moment – so different from last year – the White House is hosting a party with essential workers and military families on the South Lawn. This event will be the largest in-person event hosted at the White House since the new administration took office – a significant milestone in the U.S.’s fight against COVID-19. The National Mall will also reopen to host a fireworks display.3
Although we will fall just short of reaching President Biden’s goal to have at least the first dose of the vaccine administered to 70 percent of the population by July 4, 2021, the U.S. has made huge strides to combat COVID-19. Since the U.S. began its vaccination program on December 14, 2020, a staggering 325 million doses have been administered– a huge logistical and public health feat. Currently, about 46.4 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated – that works out to about 154 million people who have been innoculated against the virus. Vaccine rates are highest in Vermont, where 65.5 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.4
While the US is doing well overall, some specific areas are still struggling – and many parts of the world are still feeling the pain of the pandmic as well. Additionally, much is unknown about new and more contagious variants that are emerging. So, while we are enjoying the holiday, it still benefits us all to keep safe and protect those around us, when and as appropriate. And, as we continue the fight, there is positive news, such as a recent study that has shown that the Moderna vaccine offers effective protection against the Delta variant.5
Independence day 2021
However you traditionally spend Independence day – at the lake, picnicing with family or barbecuing with friends – we hope you are able to stay safe, savour the time spent together and enjoy celebrating the Independence of our great nation. This year, we are all celebrating our newfound freedom from the virus, and giving extra thanks to the healthcare professionals, essential workers and many others who sacrificed to get us here.
For the past 176 years, New York Life has been helping to provide stability and security so that Americans can celebrate the Fourth of July with peace of mind. This year we are pleased to be able to celebrate in person again and throughout the year, and through the good times and bad, we are here to support you.
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