President Joe Biden gave his first prime time address as president Thursday night at 8 p.m. to give an update on the nation’s fight against coronavirus and to talk about the path forward.
Below are some of the more interesting points from Biden’s speech.
Biden is constantly reminded of the victims: Biden mentioned in his speech that the back of his daily schedule — which he keeps in his pocket — has the updated number of American lives lost to COVID-19 written on it. At the time of the speech that number was 527,726.
“That’s more deaths than in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined. There are husbands, wives, sons and daughters, grandparents, friends, neighbors, young and old,” Biden said. “We leave behind loved ones. Unable to truly grieve or to heal, or even to have a funeral. Also thinking about everyone else lost this past year to natural causes, by cruel fate of accident or other disease. They too died alone. They too leave behind loved ones who are hurting badly.”
A new view of government: Democrats are often called the party of big government while Republicans have a reputation of being the party of small government. Biden laid out his vision of government as being made up of the people and as a positive force in fighting the global pandemic.
“We know what we need to do to beat this virus. Tell the truth. All the scientists and science, work together, put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people. No function more important. We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in some distant capital. No, it’s us, all of us. We the people, for you and I, and America thrives. We give our hearts. We return our hands to common purpose.”
Everyone will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in May: The Biden administration is directing all states, tribes and territories to make all Americans over the age of 18 eligible for the vaccine no later than May 1. That doesn’t mean all Americans will be vaccinated by then, but it means all Americans will be able to receive the vaccine. The wait to sign up will be over.
Finding the vaccine will be easier: In tandem with increasing eligibility for the vaccine, Biden vowed to make finding the shot easier. He said a new website will roll out that will allow you to enter your address and find a location to get vaccinated near you.
Biden wants schools to reopen soon: We are on Day 50 of Biden’s presidency. Biden wants the majority of K-8 schools open in the next 50 days and will be directing government resources to get teachers vaccinated and help schools reopen.
It isn’t just about government: During the speech, Biden made a plea, telling Americans that he needs them in order to beat the virus and encouraged everyone to wear masks, socially distance, continue washing hands and get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.
“Talk to your family, friends, your neighbors. The people you know best who have gotten the vaccine. We need everyone to get vaccinated. We need everyone to keep washing their hands. Stay socially distanced and keep wearing the mask, as recommended by the CDC,” Biden said. “Because even if we devote every resource we have beating this virus, getting back to normal depends on national unity. And national unity isn’t just how politics and politicians vote in Washington. What the loudest voice is saying on cable or online. Unity is what we do together as fellow Americans. Because if we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, and we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track. Please, we don’t want to do that again. We’ve made so much progress. This is not the time to let up.”
Here comes the money: Biden closed his speech by talking about the American Rescue plan, which was signed into law prior to the address. Under the plan, a family of four earning less than $110,000 per year will receive a check for $5,600.
Biden also talked about the other aspects of the rescue plan. ” It helps small businesses. It lowers healthcare premiums for many. It provides food and nutrition, keeps families in their homes, and it will cut child poverty in this country in half, according to the experts. And it funds, all the steps I’ve just described, to beat the virus and create millions of jobs,” he said.