“Millions of vaccinated Americans can now hug their grandchildren!” – President Biden
President Biden addressed the nation in a primetime television speech March 11. His topic was the coronavirus pandemic, and the occasion was the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s original announcement in 2020 of a global pandemic. He spoke of the terrible year the nation has seen, as well as of “Hope and light with better days ahead!”
President Biden announced that as of March 11, there had been 527,726 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S., which is more than the total casualties from World War 1, World War 2, the Vietnam War, and the 9/11 disaster combined.
President Biden’s biggest message was the importance of vaccination to the nation’s ability to open up, and rebuild. He explained,“The more people are fully vaccinated, the more things will open up – places of worship, travel, gatherings. The only way to get our lives back is to beat the virus.”
He announced that because of the government’s massive wartime-like mobilization of resources since his inauguration, all adults in all states, tribes, and territories will be eligible to be vaccinated by May 1. He said the nation would be seeing an increase in vaccine pop-up clinics, mobile health vaccination efforts, mass vaccination sites, and the launch of new tools to help schedule vaccines easily.
He said that a massive nationwide effort to reopen schools is underway, and that the majority will open in near future. Again, he tied vaccination to a return to normal life. He said that if each American does their part, gets vaccinated, encourages neighbors, family, and friends to also get vaccinated – by July 4 small gatherings will likely be safe.
He also warned that if people resist vaccination, and new variants continue to emerge and spread, things could take a turn for the worse, rather than the better. He urged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible, to beat the variants, and in order to reopen the nation.
President Biden stated unequivocally that all the vaccines are safe, and that they underwent rigorous scientific review.
At one point during his address he spoke forcefully into the television camera of the targeting of Asian Americans. He called the behavior ‘un-American’ and said it had to stop.
Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, announced earlier in the day that 1 in 8 Mainers have now been fully vaccinated, and that vaccine supplies to the state will be increasing, with the pace of vaccinations picking up. He encouraged people to continue to act with caution until the entire state is fully vaccinated.