▶ Watch Video: CBSN

Washington — President Biden is set to announce Thursday that all federal workers and contractors will be required to confirm they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to regular testing and abide by COVID-19 protocols in the workplace as the Delta variant continues its sweep across the country.

The president’s announcement, to be made during remarks “laying out the next steps in our effort to get more Americans vaccinated,” according to the White House, comes weeks after he celebrated “independence from” COVID-19 during a July 4 gathering. But with the highly contagious Delta variant driving the rise in infections, hospitalizations and deaths, many areas of the country are returning to more stringent mitigation measures, even for the vaccinated. 

How to watch President Biden’s remarks today

  • What: President Biden delivers remarks “laying out the next steps in our effort to get more Americans vaccinated and combat the spread of the Delta variant”
  • Date: Thursday, July 29, 2021
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • Location: The White House
  • Online stream: Live on CBSN — in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device

Roughly 70% of American adults have received at least one dose of their coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Biden administration has been pushing those who have not yet received their shots to do so. On Wednesday, more than 754,000 doses of the vaccines were administered, including 498,000 newly vaccinated people, according to Cyrus Shahpar, the White House’s COVID-19 data director.

Many state and local leaders announced this week they would be reinstating mitigation measures, and some imposed new vaccine requirements for public workers amid a rise in new coronavirus infections. Nearly all of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, White House officials said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday it is requiring all medical personnel to get their COVID-19 shots, and a coalition of major medical organizations is pushing for mandatory vaccinations for all U.S. health care workers. California and New York City are also requiring all state and city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo frequent testing. 

The surge in new coronavirus cases led the CDC to update its guidance Tuesday to recommend that vaccinated Americans in areas of the country with “substantial or high transmission” of the coronavirus wear masks indoors. The federal health agency also said masks should be required in K-12 schools.

The federal government moved swiftly in responding to the new mask guidance, with masks now required again in the White House. The top doctor on Capitol Hill also recommended masks be required for lawmakers and staff indoors, though the new mandate has already sparked friction between Democrats and resistant Republicans.