Ahead of President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday about new COVID-19 measures, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that there may be new measures that will be imposed on unvaccinated people.
“There are six steps the president’s announcing, there will be new components,” Psaki told reporters on Wednesday. “Some of that will be related to access to testing, some will be related to mandates, some will be related to how we ensure kids will be protected in schools.”
When asked about how the new steps would impact Americans’ lives, Psaki said that “it depends on if you’re vaccinated or not.”
Psaki provided few details on what mandates could be imposed on unvaccinated Americans. On Tuesday, she told reporters on Air Force One that the federal government lacks the authority to mandate vaccines for everyone.
“There will be new components that sure, will of course impact people across the country, but we’re also all working together to get the virus under control, to return to our normal lives,” Psaki also said, without elaborating, on Wednesday.
Biden, who was scheduled to meet with his COVID-19 advisers on Wednesday, delivered a speech about six months ago saying the United States has “made real progress” against the virus.
Since that date, about 142 million Americans have received COVID-19 vaccines and about 950,000 people are getting vaccinated each day, according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Data released daily by the CDC’s COVID-19 tracker suggests that the United States’ new cases and deaths may have hit a plateau or is on the decline. The seven day-average for cases as of Tuesday was 140,000 and deaths were 1,022, respectively, while as of Sept. 1, the seven-day average for cases was 156,000 and deaths were 1,141, respectively.
The president’s speech on Thursday could make reference to a recent announcement from the heads of several federal health agencies that third doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, or booster shots, would be provided around Sept. 20. However, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve the booster doses.
Already, Biden required all federal employees and contractors to get the COVID-19 vaccine or adhere to strict testing and social distancing protocols. He also ordered nursing homes to require their staff to get the vaccine to continue getting Medicare and Medicaid funding.
One of Biden’s top confidants, White House chief of staff Ron Klain, during a CNN interview over the weekend, was reluctant to provide a specific date when the boosters would be made available to the public.