Speed Reads

biden prime-time address

Biden calls on Americans to get vaccinated, says he 'will not relent until we beat this virus'

On Thursday night, exactly one year after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, President Biden spoke to the nation about what Americans have gone through collectively since then, offering cautious optimism.

As of Thursday, at least 527,726 Americans have died of the coronavirus, more than the number of deaths in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined. "A year ago, no one could have imagined what we were about to go through, but now we're coming through it," Biden said. "It's a shared experience that binds us together as a nation. We are bound together by the loss and the pain in the days that have gone by. We're also bound together by the hope and the possibilities in the days in front of us."

Biden's goal was for 100 million vaccines to be delivered in his first 100 days in office, and he announced the country is on track to hit that number early, on his 60th day in office. Biden said he has also directed states to make every adult eligible for the vaccine by May 1, and announced the mobilization of more vaccinators and the creation of a new federal website that will help people set up vaccination appointments.

"I promise I will do everything in my power, I will not relent, until we beat this virus," Biden said. "But I need every American to do their part. That's not hyperbole. I need you to get vaccinated when it's your turn." If people get vaccinated and continue to wear masks and social distance, there is "a good chance" small gatherings can take place on July 4. Biden cautioned that a lot might happen between now and then, as there are new virus variants spreading.

Now is not the time to let up, Biden said. Americans have lost a lot — loved ones, friends, businesses, time — but "America is coming back," he promised. He praised the "extraordinary" measures that led to coronavirus vaccines being developed, manufactured, and distributed quickly, and said it is his "fervent prayer for our country" that "after what we went through, we'll come together as one people, one nation, one America. I believe we can, and we will."