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Photo: Toya Sarno Jordan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Friday that he expects Americans will be having small get-togethers "well before" President Biden's July 4 target.

Catch up quick: Biden announced in a primetime address on Thursday that he was ordering states to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all residents by May 1, and set a goal for Americans to be able to safely congregate in small groups by the Fourth of July

  • But Gottlieb — who led the FDA under President Trump, now serves on Pfizer's board, and has been a leading public health voice throughout the pandemic — said on Friday: "I think we should be giving public health advice that is in line with where people are."
  • "[When] people feel the risk declining because they’ve been vaccinated, because they see infection levels going down in many parts of the country, they’re going to be willing to take more risk because they sense that their vulnerability is declining. And you know what? They’re right."

The big picture: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidance this month that said fully vaccinated people can gather in small groups indoors — without masks — and still be safe.

  • But the agency has cautioned against travel, even for vaccinated Americans, and warned states not to lift restrictions too early out of concern for another coronavirus wave driven by new variants.
  • About 19% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, per CDC data. About 10% are fully vaccinated.

Go deeper

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

This arthritis drug cost $198 in 2008. Now it's more than $10,000

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2008, a box of 30 anti-inflammatory rectal suppositories that treats arthritis, called Indocin, had a price tag of $198. As of Oct. 1, the price of that same box was 52 times higher, totaling $10,350.

Why it matters: As federal lawmakers continue to waver on drug price reforms, Indocin is another example of how nothing prevents drug companies from hiking prices at will and selling them within a broken supply chain.

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