In his first televised primetime address to the nation after being sworn in as the nation’s leader, President Biden promised ample vaccines and a return to some degree of normalcy in the United States by mid-summer. Although he cautioned that unexpected setbacks may arise, he remained optimistic, suggesting America may finally be able to begin to move on from the coronavirus pandemic by Independence Day on July 4th.
In a telecast that marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization officially declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, Biden said his goal of making small family gatherings viable in the coming months “will make this Independence Day truly special” because it would “not only mark our independence as a nation, but mark our independence from this virus.”
Biden stressed that while we will not yet be able to gather in large groups by July 4th, continued efforts from all Americans to social distance, wear masks and getting vaccinated would help hit that end goal.
According to NPR’s Domenico Montanaro and Chloee Weiner, “Part of that confidence is rooted in projecting that all Americans will be eligible to get a vaccine by May 1. Not everyone will be able to get a vaccine by that date, he said, but everyone will be able to get in line by then.”
The White House has directed all states, tribes and territories to make all American adults eligible for vaccines by that date and is rolling out a plan to further increase the availability of shots at additional pharmacies and federally-run mass vaccination centers.
Biden also devoted part of his speech to talk about the rise of anti-Asian racism. “Too often, we’ve turned against one another … vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans, who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated. At this very moment, so many them, our fellow Americans, they are on the frontlines of this pandemic trying to save lives,” he said. “Still, they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. It’s wrong, it’s un-American and it must stop.”
Biden calls out the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic, saying they're "attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated"
"They are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. It's wrong, it's un-American and it must stop" pic.twitter.com/GRkWzXWzd2
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 12, 2021
Biden concluded his address by reflecting on the more than 520,000 who have died from the virus — a total greater than all the American deaths that occurred in World War I and II, the Vietnam War and from the attacks on 9/11 combined.
“In the loss, we saw how much there was to gain,” he said. “Finding light in the darkness is a very American thing to do. It may be the most American thing we do.”