President Joe Biden delivered his first primetime speech since entering office, marking the signing of the Covid-19 relief act, which passed Congress without a single Republican vote and was signed by the president on Thursday.
“We all lost something, a collective suffering, a collective sacrifice,” Biden said of the pandemic that has ravaged the globe for more than a year and claimed more than half a million American lives.
Biden made five important promises on his next steps to eradicate the virus and get life back to as close to normal as possible:
- He will direct all states to make all adult Americans eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1st.
- More than two million vaccine shots administered each day and new tools to help Americans find the vaccine in their local area. As part of this effort, the White House will announce Friday that dentists, veterinarians, medical students, and other health professionals will be qualified to administer the vaccine.
- Accelerate a “massive nationwide effort to reopen our schools safely,” which includes vaccinating all school workers.
- Issue further CDC guidance on which activities are safe for vaccinated people.
He also acknowledged the pain in the Asian American community as they are the victims of racial violence, possibly made worse by former president Trump’s xenophobic statements and constantly referring to Covid-19 as the “China virus.” “It is wrong, it is un-American and it must stop,” Biden said.
The president promised to do “everything in my power” to fight the virus, but he emphasized that he cannot do this alone. “I need you, the American people. I need every American to do their part. That’s not hyperbole, I need you. I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn and you can find an opportunity. And to help your family, your friends, your neighbors, get vaccinated as well. If we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July 4th, there’s a good chance, you, your family and friends will be able to get together in hour backyard in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day.”
He continued, “That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together 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… July 4th with your loved ones is the goal.”
While Biden tried to strike an optimistic note, he cautioned that scientists have warned that things may still get worse, and conditions are dependent on all of us continuing to behave cautiously. “We’ve made so much progress, this is not the time to let up,” Biden said. So follow the CDC guidance and get vaccinated when you can.