Houston doctor weighs in on Biden's timeline for July 4th normalcy

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston doctor is responding to President Joe Biden's goal that Americans could at least gather in small groups for July Fourth in a return to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his first prime-time address, Biden said that "By July the Fourth, there's a good chance you and your families and friends will be able to get together and have a cookout or a barbecue" in small groups. But that's provided Americans do their part by wearing masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated when possible, the president continued.

"After this long hard year, that will make this Independence Day something truly special, where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we begin to mark our independence from this virus," Biden proclaimed Thursday night.

Thursday also marked one year since the coronavirus brought the nation to a standstill with shutdowns, halted travel and more.

WATCH: COVID-19 pandemic: 1 year later

But Dr. Joseph Varon, who works at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, doesn't agree with that July Fourth timeline.

"I think that's wishful thinking to be honest with you. I think that's a little too early," Varon said. "With all these new variants that we have out there, without knowing whether or not the vaccines are going to cover them. I would just caution people not to hope for that. I mean it would be great if it happens."


Varon has been vocal on the frontlines while fighting this pandemic, being transparent in his experiences with the patients and the struggles faced by health care workers.

By Thanksgiving, he had worked 252 days in a row.

SEE ALSO: Houston doctor hugs COVID-19 patient in ICU on Thanksgiving in viral photo


Instead, Varon thinks it could be safe to gather by fall, but again, that's if the public does things "by the book," like following the CDC guidance on continuing to wear masks and avoid large crowds, at least for a few more months.

Biden also announced his plan to make all adults vaccine-eligible by May 1. That's something Varon does believe is doable if the administration can help people overcome vaccine hesitancy.

"I think that that's the area where the president can really help Americans and that is by convincing those people that are not willing to get the vaccine to get vaccinated. To remove some of these taboos regarding the myths of what the vaccines can or cannot do. I think that that would be something very useful," said Varon.

The doctor also said he wants to see more action when it comes to messaging about getting vaccinated.

"And I mean you can go to your local key opinion leaders, to your national key opinion leaders. I mean people, for example, within the Spanish community or African American community. People that are considered to be key opinion leaders, as far as medical issues, go to those people ask them to talk in front of of everybody do a few commercials," Varon suggested.

Varon says he believes that even though the vaccines were manufactured quickly, they are "our only option to put an end to this pandemic. I mean, the vaccines have provided those with the light at the end of the tunnel."

READ: Houston doctor says COVID-19 vaccine is 'beginning of the answer'

Follow this link to watch Biden's prime-time address.

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