The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic in the US

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:34 PM ET, Thu September 9, 2021
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5:39 p.m. ET, September 9, 2021

Biden outlines 6-step plan to get the pandemic under control in the US

A health care worker administers a Covid-19 swab test in Miami on August 6.
A health care worker administers a Covid-19 swab test in Miami on August 6. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

President Biden just announced a six step plan to stop the spread of the Delta variant and increase vaccinations in the US.

The six-step plan includes:

  1. Requires all employers with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly.
  2. Providing easy access to booster shots for all eligible Americans.
  3. Getting students and school staff tested regularly.
  4. Make at-home tests more affordable.
  5. Streamlining the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness process.
  6. Increasing support for Covid-burdened hospitals.

"The measures, these are going to take time to have full impact, but if we implement them, I believe and the scientists indicate that the months ahead we can reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans, decrease hospitalizations and deaths, and allow our children to go to school safely and keep our economy strong by keeping businesses open," Biden said during remarks from the White House.

5:34 p.m. ET, September 9, 2021

Biden to unvaccinated Americans: "What more is there to wait for?"

President Joe Biden pauses as he speaks from the White House on September 9.
President Joe Biden pauses as he speaks from the White House on September 9. Andrew Harnik/AP

President Biden made an appeal to Americans who are yet to get vaccinated, urging them to "do the right thing" and get the shot.

"My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We have made vaccinations free, safe and convenient," he said in White House remarks.

Biden stressed that a Covid-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA and has proven to be safe.

"Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We've been patient but our patience is wearing thin. Your refusal has cost all of us. So please do the right thing," Biden said.

"Listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breath saying, 'If only I had gotten vaccinated. If only." It's a tragedy. Please don't let it become yours," the President told Americans.

5:21 p.m. ET, September 9, 2021

Biden: Nearly 80 million Americans are unvaccinated and they "can cause a lot of damage"

President Biden said "nearly 80 million Americans" have not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine.

"Despite the fact that for almost five months free vaccines have been able in 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot, and to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against Covid-19," Biden said in remarks about the next phase of his administration's pandemic response.

"Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they are ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated for those dying in our communities. This is totally unacceptable," he continued.

Biden said that although the majority of Americans are trying to do the right thing, the portion that aren't have the potential to cause a lot of damage for everyone.

"The vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing. Nearly three-quarters of the eligible have gotten at least one shot, but one-quarter has not gotten any. That's nearly 80 million Americans not vaccinated, and in a country as large as ours, that's 25% minority. That 25% can cause a lot of damage, and they are. The unvaccinated overcrowd our hospitals or over run the emergency rooms and intensive care units leaving no one-for-someone with a heart attack or pancreatitis or cancer," the President said.

"I know there's a lot of confusion and misinformation, but the world's leading scientists confirm that if you're a fully vaccinated, your risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is very low," Biden added.

5:16 p.m. ET, September 9, 2021

President Biden just announced more stringent vaccine rules for federal workers

President Joe Biden speaks from the White House on September 9.
President Joe Biden speaks from the White House on September 9. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

President Biden, speaking from the White House, said he will sign an executive order requiring all federal workers be vaccinated against Covid-19, with no option of being regularly tested to opt-out of the requirement.

The President said he will also sign an executive order directing the same standard be extended to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government.

"If you want to do business with the federal government, vaccinate your workforce," Biden said.

The Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Service and National Institutes of Health will also complete their previously announced vaccination requirements, which the White House estimates covers 2.5 million workers.

The new announcements move beyond what Biden announced earlier this summer, when he required federal workers be vaccinated but allowed for those who opted out to be subject to stringent mitigation measures.

The White House has said the federal government should act as a model for other businesses in their own vaccine mandates, and has praised large companies that require employees to be vaccinated.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak contributed reporting to this post. 

6:06 p.m. ET, September 9, 2021

"We’re in a tough stretch," warns Biden as Covid-19 surges

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

President Biden sought to highlight his administration's accomplishment in its fight against Covid-19 but also warned of a difficult season ahead as temperatures drop in much of the country.

"This progress is real," said Biden, speaking from the White House. "While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact, we're in the tough stretch and it could last for a while," said Biden.

Biden went on to urge Americans to choose to get vaccinated before announcing new vaccination mandates for federal employees, contractors and others.

"This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated," he added. "Please do the right thing."

5:07 p.m. ET, September 9, 2021

Biden: "We have the tools to combat the virus if we can come together and use those tools"

President Biden said the US is capable of fighting Covid-19 and the country has made a lot of progress in doing so since he entered the White House.

"We have the tools to combat the virus if we can come together as a country and use those tools. If we raise our vaccination rates, protect ourselves and others with masking and expanded testing and identify people who are infected, we can and we will turn the tide on Covid-19. It will take a lot of hard work, and it's going to take some time," Biden said in a speech from the White House.

Biden added: "First, we've made considerable progress in battling Covid-19. When I became president, about 2 million Americans were fully vaccinated. Today over 175 million Americans have that protection."

5:06 p.m. ET, September 9, 2021

NOW: President Biden addresses the nation on the Covid-19 pandemic

President Joe Biden speaks from the White House on September 9.
President Joe Biden speaks from the White House on September 9. (Pool)

President Biden is speaking about the next phase of his administration's pandemic response, which will include expanded vaccine mandates for healthcare workers and more measures.

The President is expected to announce a slate of new measures, including a doubling of fines for airline passengers who refuse to mask and a price reduction for at-home rapid tests.

During a background call with reporters earlier this afternoon, officials previewed the announcements the President would make.

Ahead of the speech, officials also said millions of healthcare workers and more than 300,000 educators will be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19. They called it an “expansion” of similar requirements already in place for assisted living home staff.  

4:26 p.m. ET, September 9, 2021

NYPD says employees who won't get vaccinated or provide proof of negative Covid-19 test will not be paid

From CNN's Laura Ly

The New York City Police Department confirmed Thursday that any employee who does not get vaccinated or provide proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test will not be allowed to work and will not get paid.

In July, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate would expand to require the entire municipal workforce, including the NYPD, to get vaccinated or start weekly testing by Sept. 13.

De Blasio also previously announced that any new hires for any New York City agencies will be required to be fully vaccinated. 

CNN has reached out to the Police Benevolent Association union for comment.

Last month, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea sent a message to members of the NYPD on Friday imploring them to get vaccinated after three members of the department died from Covid-19 in a single week.

By the numbers: As of last month, 47% of the NYPD have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 44% are fully vaccinated.

As CNN previously reported, the NYPD's vaccination figure only accounts for vaccinations administered by the department and doesn't account for any potential vaccinations administered elsewhere.

5:06 p.m. ET, September 9, 2021

North Carolina governor: Most hospitalized people are unvaccinated

From CNN's Kay Jones

Gov. Roy Cooper speaks at a press conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, on September 9.
Gov. Roy Cooper speaks at a press conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, on September 9. (Gov. Cooper's Office)

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the state needs more people to get vaccinated as most of the people hospitalized due to Covid-19 are unvaccinated. 

More than 3,800 people are hospitalized with the virus, according to the latest information provided by the state's health department. 

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Cooper said the state is "laser focused" on getting people vaccinated.

"If you're still unsure about getting one? How about get off social media and get on the phone with your doctor," Cooper said. 

At least 51% of the state's population has been fully vaccinated, with 55% receiving at least one shot. 

"The key to ending this pandemic is the vaccine," Cooper said.