President Biden set a goal of July 4 to “get closer to normal” in reopening the country in his first prime-time address on Thursday night. To reach that goal, Mr. Biden said he would be directing all states to make all American adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1.
“It will make this Independence Day truly special — where we not only mark out independence as a nation but our independence from this virus,” Mr. Biden said. But to attain this goal, he said, “I need every American to do their part.”
As greater numbers of people are fully vaccinated, Mr. Biden said the Centers for Disease Control would update its guidance on activities like travel and attending church worship services. The Biden administration has been criticized by some for providing such limited guidance so far for fully vaccinated people.
Mr. Biden also said his administration is on track to reach 2 million shots a day and to reach his original goal of 100 million shots in arms on his 60th day in office, just 10 days from now.
“No other country in the world has done this. None,” he said of the U.S. vaccination rate.
Overall, Mr. Biden tried to send a message of unity as Americans enter the second year of the pandemic. He struck a solemn tone at the start of the speech, announcing that he was marking the one-year anniversary of when “everything shut down.”
“A collective suffering, collective sacrifice, a year filled with a loss of life and a loss of living for all of us,” Mr. Biden said. He told Americans that he keeps a card in his pocket with the running total of Americans who have died of COVID.
Today, he said, that number is 527,726.