Biden to Mark Pandemic Anniversary in Prime Time Speech



President Biden will deliver the first prime time address of his presidency on Thursday, marking one year since the adoption of sweeping measures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which subsequently killed nearly 525,000 Americans and battered the economy.

The president will deliver a direct-to-camera address to “discuss the many sacrifices the American people have made over the last year and the grave loss communities and families across the country have suffered,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Monday.

The national emergency declaration, which gave the White House flexibility to direct federal resources to efforts to fight the pandemic, was issued on March 13, 2020.

The speech will be forward-looking, Ms. Psaki added, and Mr. Biden plans to highlight “the role that Americans will play” in getting the country “back to normal.”

Her comments came shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a slight easing of restrictions on people who have received vaccinations.

On Monday afternoon, Mr. Biden was scheduled to visit a medical center in Washington to discuss efforts to vaccinate veterans.

The address is also timed to capitalize on a major political victory for the young presidency. Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, which passed the Senate over the weekend, is likely to be adopted by the House on Tuesday. While Mr. Biden’s team has been cautious to take a victory lap while so many Americans are suffering, he needs to take credit for its fast passage to gain the leverage needed for looming fights over other items on his agenda.

Mr. Biden’s address comes nearly a year to the day since former President Donald J. Trump delivered an address on the virus from the Oval Office after initially dismissing the coronavirus as a minor problem that would go away on its own.

“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” said Mr. Trump, whose decisive loss in November was largely the result of his failure to effectively take on the pandemic, which he blamed on China.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday found that 68 percent of Americans approved of the way Mr. Biden is handling the crisis.


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