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President Biden during a Fourth of July BBQ event to celebrate Independence Day at the South Lawn of the White House on Sunday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden used his Fourth of July speech Sunday to declare that the U.S. is "closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus."

What he's saying: "This year, the Fourth of July is a day of special celebration," Biden said before a crowd of 1,000 essential workers and military families. "For we are emerging from the darkness of years. A year pandemic and isolation.

  • "A year of pain, fear, and heart-breaking loss. Just think back to where this nation was a year ago. Think back to where you were a year ago. And think about how far we've come."
  • Biden noted that "the battle against COVID-19" is not over. "We've got a lot more work to do," he added.

The big picture: The Biden administration appears to have fallen just short of the U.S. goal of vaccinating 70% of American adults with at least one dose by July 4.

  • CDC figures released Friday showed about 67% of the adult population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, while some 47% have had two.

Go deeper... In photos: Americans enjoy July 4 celebrations after 2020 pandemic cancelations

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Biden trust takes a blow as COVID lingers

Data: Axios/Ipsos polls; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

For the first time in his presidency, Joe Biden faces a trust deficit among Americans when it comes to COVID-19, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: The latest findings point to malaise more than fear. But malaise could spell real trouble for a Democratic president who built his support on a pledge to steer the nation out of crisis — and whose party's bare House and Senate majorities are on the line in 2022.

2 hours ago - World

U.S. will give Russians written response to NATO demands, Blinken says

Blinken and Lavrov shake hands in Geneva. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed after a meeting with his Russian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. will provide written answers to Russia's security demands next week.

Why it matters: Russia claims to be waiting for "concrete answers" to its demands that NATO rule out further expansion and roll back its presence in eastern Europe before deciding its next steps on Ukraine. But the U.S. and NATO have called those proposals "non-starters," and Friday's meeting offered no breakthroughs, so it's unclear how written answers might change the equation.

More surprises await scientists at Antarctica's "Doomsday Glacier"

Cliffs along the edge of the Thwaites Ice Shelf in West Antarctica. Photo: James Yungel/NASA

Researchers like David Holland, an atmospheric scientist at New York University, are in a race to understand the fate of a massive glacier in West Antarctica that has earned a disquieting nickname: "The Doomsday Glacier."

Why it matters: Studies show the Thwaites Glacier (its official name) could already be on an irreversible course to melt during the next several decades to centuries, freeing up enough inland ice to raise global sea levels by at least several feet.