A few hours after signing the historic $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, President Joe Biden gave his first primetime address to the nation. His speech comes on the one-year anniversary of the first coronavirus pandemic lockdowns across the US.
In his remarks, he reflected on the more than half a million lives lost to COVID-19. In a display of empathy, the president took a card out of his jacket pocket to read the exact number of Americans lost to the virus during his speech, as reported by CNN.
President Biden also provided some predictions for the upcoming months along with a message of hope and unity.
Here are 4 key takeaways that have strong implications for Black Americans.
Biden Wants States To Offer COVID-19 Vaccines To All Adults By May 1
In his speech, the president declared that he “will direct all states, tribes and territories to make all adults, people 18 and over, eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1.” For Black Americans, the vaccine rollout has not reached us at the same rate as other groups. The lag is dangerous, especially considering that the pandemic and coronavirus have disproportionately impacted our communities.
Black religious leaders have been called upon to provide vaccine education to congregations across the nation, quelling misinformation and increasing trust in the vaccine rollout.
Biden’s order to states, according to a report by ABC News, is made possible through the US Department of Health and Human Services. Biden clarified, too, that May 1 is not the day when everyone would be getting a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, just that “you’ll be able to get in line beginning May 1,” he said.
The President Thinks We Could See Some Normality By July 4th
“By July the 4th, there’s a good chance you, your families and friends, will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day,” President Biden said.
This new timeline for some sort of normalcy depends on if people follow guidelines from the CDC and continue to get vaccinated.
Biden also still advised against “large events with lots of people together,” and said the Fourth of July would also “begin to mark our independence from this virus.”
Before then, the CDC is expected to update guidelines on traveling, gatherings, returning to work and religious services, according to a senior administration official, per ABC.
The Administration is Turning Up Vaccine Rollout
Before Biden gave his speech, the White House reportedly announced that 4,000 additional active-duty troops will be deployed “to support vaccination efforts,” bringing the total number of service members helping to doses into arms to 6,000.
Pharmacies and community health centers will also be expanding their roles in getting Americans vaccinated. Additionally, more healthcare professionals ranging from dentists, veterinarians, and paramedics will be administering doses.
“We’re mobilizing thousands of vaccinators to put the vaccine in one’s arm,” Biden said during his speech.
There’s reportedly going to be a centralized federal vaccination website, too, and a call center to assist people in getting to a vaccination site nearby.
We’re Not Out of the Pandemic Yet
“A lot can happen. Conditions can change. The scientists have made clear that things may get worse again. As new variants of the virus spread, we’ve got work to do to ensure that everyone has confidence in the safety and effectiveness of all three vaccines,” Biden said, providing a reminder that the pandemic is still ongoing.
“Listen to Dr. [Anthony] Fauci,” Biden said. He said that the “truth” is that Americans should continue to follow guidelines to get on the other side of the pandemic. ‘
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