President Joe Biden, one year into the year since the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the country, delivered his first prime-time address: a speech that mixed hard numbers on vaccine distribution with calls for unity and a deep-seated belief in America’s power to overcome any challenge. Here are the keys to his fight against the pandemic:
1- 4 July, Independence Day…from the virus
Biden on Thursday ordered states to begin vaccinating all adults against EVD-19 by 1 May, so that by Independence Day, 4 July, “there’s a good chance” that families can be reunited. “After this long, hard year, this will make Independence Day something really special where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we begin to mark our independence from this virus,” the president said of his intention to reach the 4th of July in a better position thanks to vaccination, although he pointed out that “the fight is far from over”.
2- 100 million doses of vaccine
Biden announced that his administration is on track to meet its commitment to deliver 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first 60 days of his term, when the goal was to do so in 100 days, as he assumed when he took office. “We are on track to reach the target of 100 million shots on my 60th day in office. No other country has done this,” he said.
3- Reversing the damage caused by Trump
The US president recalled that the country experienced “denials for days, weeks and then months”. “That caused more deaths, more contagions, more stress and more loneliness”, he lamented, while pointing out that it has been a period of suffering and “collective” sacrifice. The leader also pointed out that the total number of deaths caused by the pandemic in the country, more than 527,000 people, is already more than “in the First World War, the Second World War, the Vietnam War and 9/11 combined”.
4- Call for national unity
Biden used his speech to condemn those who have used the pandemic for hatred “instead of working together”. In particular, he referred to hate crimes against Asian-Americans who, in his words, “have been targeted, harassed, blamed and scapegoated”, to which he demanded that the hatred “must stop”. “We’ve lost faith in whether our government and our democracy can deliver on really difficult things for the American people,” he also acknowledged. In this sense, he called for “national unity”. “After all we’ve been through, we will come together as a people (…). We will come out stronger, with a renewed faith in ourselves”.
5- Let everyone do their part
In his speech, Biden also called on the American people to help him achieve his goals: “I need all Americans to do their part. Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated when it is their turn.
6- More places to get the vaccine
According to the White House, the number of places where Americans can receive the immuniser will be increased to reach hard-to-reach and hard-hit populations. The number of people involved in the vaccination process will also be increased, with a total of 6,000 troops deployed and an increase in the number of professionals trained to administer the injection.
7- Reopening of schools
Further steps will also be taken to reopen schools, with the issuance of Rescue Plan funds for the adaptation of schools to coronavirus containment measures. In addition, it will expand screening in schools, support school staff in vaccination and offer advice to educational establishments, among others.
8- Combating new strains
The United States will also continue efforts to combat new variants and spread in any space by further testing and strengthening the identification of new variants.