In his first primetime address to the nation, President Joe Biden offered Americans fresh hope on the one-year anniversary since the coronavirus hit the U.S.
“The only way to get our lives back, to get our economy back, is to beat the virus,” Biden said. “That’s why I’m using every power I have as president of the United States to put us on a warfooting.”
He praised America’s progress with COVID-19 vaccinations, and said he is directing all states and territories to make all adults eligible for the vaccine no later than May 1.
Also, he said the country is on track to reach his goal of 1 million COVID-19 vaccinations a day in people’s arms within his first 60 days in office, which is ahead of schedule, and that a target of 2 million shots a day is in reach.
“This is the United States of America. There is nothing, nothing we can’t do when we do it together,” he said.
However, Biden said now is not the time to let up and urged Americans to get vaccinated.
The vaccine is safe, he said, and is why he and Vice President Kamala Harris received their inoculations publicly, as did Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and first lady Fran DeWine.
He began his address speaking on how the pandemic has affected everyone.
“While it was different for everyone, we all lost something,” he said.
The latest number of deaths due to the coronavirus in the U.S. is 527,726. “That’s more deaths than in World War 1, World War II, Vietnam and 9/11 combined.”
He also called for discrimination against Asian Americans, who in some cases have been made scapegoats for the virus or subjected to violence. “This has got to stop.”
Biden’s address came hours after he signed into law a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill, called the “American Rescue Plan.”
“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation — working people and middle-class folks, the people who built the country — a fighting chance,” Biden said before he signed the bill.
Jen Roppel Balduf covers breaking news for the Dayton Daily News. She earned a bachelor of science in journalism degree from Ohio University and also writes for the Journal-News, Springfield News-Sun and Dayton.com.