President Biden’s First National Address Focuses on COVID-19

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President Joe Biden addressed the nation on the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 hitting the United States.

Gabriella Larsen, Staff writer

President Joe Biden marked one year since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation with the first prime-time address of his presidency. He delivered a speech, mixing numbers of vaccine distribution and sending the message that America can overcome any challenge. Biden’s speech ran a little over 20 minutes, but has many takeaways. 

President Biden did not mention our last president by name, but in the beginning moments of his speech, it was clear that Biden lays much of the blame for the U.S.’s struggles with the pandemic on the former president. At one point, he said, “A year ago,  we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and was unchecked, denials for days, weeks, months. That led to more deaths, more infections, more stress and more loneliness.” He then pulled out his mask, and expressed his amazement that masks have become a new subject of political debate. Biden empathized with those who have died from the Coronavirus, keeping a card in his front pocket with the exact number of Americans who have lost their lives. Most notably, he states that all adults in the U.S. will have access to the COVID vaccine by May of this year. 

Biden wanted to make it clear that Americans are at war with COVID-19, noting that it has taken more lives than World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. His message is that the virus is not an enemy the U.S. is used to battling, but sacrifice and unity is needed to defeat it. He made all possibilities regarding the future of the virus clear, such as different strains, and consequences of not wearing masks and distancing, but remains hopeful that Americans will have a normal summer.

At the most memorable part of the address, Biden stared directly into the camera and said, “I need you.” Throughout the speech, Biden stresses the importance of “we” in overcoming the pandemic, national unity and finding a common purpose, needing every American to do their part. In the final moments of his speech, President Biden says, “This is the United States of America, and there’s nothing we can’t do when we do it together.” Biden used his speech to detail the losses the United States and it’s people have suffered from Covid-19, but points to a hopeful future that is possible if Americans work together. Near the end of his address, he states “There is hope and light and better days ahead.”