WASHINGTON — In his first primetime address to the nation since taking office, President Joe Biden offered Americans hope and offered a plan to lift the nation out of the coronavirus pandemic, announcing a new vaccination timeline as well as federal relief on the way.
Biden’s speech comes exactly one year after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. The President announced he is directing all states to open coronavirus vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1. He also put a timeline of July 4 for Americans to have small gatherings with family and friends.
“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 begin to mark our independence from this virus,” he said.
The President spoke for nearly 24 minutes and expressed optimism for the future, along with caution for the present, telling the American people: “This fight is far from over.” He called on the people to stop being divided on the issue of masks and restrictions, saying the responsibility is with everyone, not just the government.
“I will not relent until I meet this virus, but the American people: I need you,” Biden said. “I need every American to do their part.”
Biden spoke out against the violence Asian Americans have endured throughout the pandemic, saying he has seen Americans have “too often, we’ve turned against one another” in the year since the pandemic began.
“At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans, are front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives and still — still are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,” he said. “It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”
Biden noted the declining case counts, millions of vaccinated Americans and a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that he signed into law Thursday afternoon. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday stimulus checks will be going into the bank accounts for those eligible this weekend, providing much needed economic relief for millions.
The President offered the country a reflection on the past year, which was marked by grief and devastation while providing hope of a post-pandemic world is near if Americans do their part.
“Photos and videos from 2019 feel like they were taken in another era: the last vacation, the last birthday with friends, the last holiday with extended family,” Biden said. “A year filled with a loss of life, and a loss of living for all of us. “A July Fourth with your loved ones is the goal. But with a goal, a lot can happen; conditions can change. The scientists have made clear that things may get worse again.”
The president, first lady Jill Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris will be hitting the road next week to promote the bill and celebrate the achievement by visiting Americans who have been hit hard by the pandemic.