There's finally light at the end of the tunnel. The United States is starting to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly one-third of the population is fully vaccinated and businesses are reopening. And that is certainly good news as the economy bounces back.
Signs that the country is breaking out from the pandemic may be most obvious in New York City. Once the epicenter for U.S. COVID-19 cases and deaths, the Big Apple is preparing to fully reopen.
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"You've gone out, you've gotten vaccinated. you've done so much to fight through this crisis and there is light at the end of the tunnel," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Starting July first, full capacity will be allowed at New York City restaurants, bars, and stadiums. Most Broadway theaters will be allowed to reopen in September.
And there's good news nationwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 30% of the American population is now fully vaccinated and more than half of U.S. states have seen a significant decline in new coronavirus cases. The trend is downward, with a reported drop of more than 26% in the last two weeks.
Soon, the Food in Drug Administration is expected to expand Pfizer vaccine use for children 12-15-years of age.
But the biggest shot in the arm from all this is to the U.S. economy. It is recovering quickly, at a vigorous annual growth rate of 6.4%.
New unemployment claims have dropped to their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic and government officials say they expect strong sustained growth – an expansion of 7% for 2021 as a whole. That would be the fastest calendar-year growth since the Reagan administration in 1984.
While many Americans may be saving their stimulus checks, consumer spending on goods has accelerated to an annual rate of 24%.
And more people are starting to spend on services like haircuts, restaurant meals, and travel.
U.S. cruises are expected to set sail again starting in July, but vaccinations will be required for 95% of passengers and 98% of the crews.
And in California, after being closed for more than a year, Disneyland is set to reopen today with limited capacity. One excited visitor exclaimed, "I'm really excited to be back, feel the Disney magic again!"