President Biden Addresses Nation on COVID-19 Pandemic Anniversary


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President Joe Biden delivered a primetime address to update the nation on the coronavirus pandemic.

Jack Birle, Staff Writer

On Thursday March 11, President Joe Biden delivered a primetime address to update the nation on the coronavirus pandemic. The speech was delivered on the one year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic.

Biden, who was elected amid the pandemic, reflected on the past year and provided updates on when Americans will receive the vaccine. 

“While it was different for everyone, we all lost something—a collective suffering, a collective sacrifice, a year filled with the loss of life and the loss of living for all of us,” Biden said. “But in the loss, we saw how much there was to gain in appreciation, respect and gratitude.”

Biden announced he will direct all states and territories to make coronavirus vaccines available to all adults ages 18 and over by May 1. He also stated there was a good chance families and friends may be able to gather in small groups for outdoor activities by July 4. 

On March 8, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance for vaccinated individuals, including allowing vaccinated individuals to gather with unvaccinated individuals from one household indoors without social distancing or masks. Biden announced further guidance will be given for vaccinated individuals in the coming weeks.

In the address, Biden also stated that his goal for 100 million vaccination shots in his first 100 days in office would be achieved by his 60th day.

“When I came into office you may recall I set a goal that many of you said was kind of way over the top,” Biden said. “I said I intended to get 100 million shots in people’s arms in my first 100 days in office. Tonight, I can say we’re not only going to meet that goal, we’re going to beat that goal.” 

Despite Biden touting the goal being perceived as excessive at the time, the United States was already issuing vaccination shots at a seven-day average of 913,912 shots per day on his first full day of office. The seven-day average number of vaccine shots issued per day in the United States on the day Biden gave his speech was 2.2 million per day, according to The New York Times.

The same day Biden gave his address, he signed the American Rescue Plan into law. The $1.9 trillion spending bill passed with no Republican support in the House or the Senate.

“And today, I signed into law the American Rescue Plan, an historic piece of legislation that delivers immediate relief to millions of people,” Biden said. “It includes $1,400 in direct rescue checks, payments. That means a typical family of four earning about $110,000 will get checks for $5,600 deposited if they have direct deposit or in a check, a treasury check.”

Opponents of the bill believed it was too costly and also criticized it for having several non-COVID related initiatives.

Biden also appeared to take a shot at his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, when discussing confidence in the vaccine. 

“I know they’re safe,” he said. “Vice President Harris and I know they’re safe. That’s why we got the vaccine publicly in front of cameras for the world to see so you could see us do it.”

According to reports by The New York Times, Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump received the coronavirus vaccine in secret before leaving office in January.

The Biden administration has taken several shots at the prior administration relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Most notably, members of the Biden administration falsely stated the Trump administration had no vaccine distribution plan and that one had to be created from the ground up.

Biden has also received criticism in recent weeks for his lack of media availability, including being the first President in the past 100 years to not hold a press conference within his first 33 days.

In closing his speech, Biden expressed his desire for unity amidst the vaccination process.

“I promise you we’ll come out [of the pandemic] stronger with a renewed faith in ourselves, a renewed commitment to one another to our communities and country,” Biden said. “This is the United States of America and there’s nothing, I believe this from the bottom of my heart, nothing we can’t do when we do it together.”