In a forceful but sombre speech from the White House on the first anniversary of the pandemic lockdown, Biden said if Americans pulled together there could be a greater sense of normalcy – and some backyard barbecue parties with small groups – on the US Independence Day holiday on July 4.
To achieve his summer target, Biden said he needed Americans’ help. “If we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track,” he said in an evening address from the White House, his first in television prime time since becoming president.
“We’ve made so much progress. This is not the time to let up. Just as we are emerging from a dark winter into a hopeful spring and summer is not the time to not stick with the rules,” he said.
Biden said he was ordering US states, territories and tribes to make all adults eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine by May 1. The White House has said it would have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate the adult population by the end of May. About 10% of Americans so far have been fully vaccinated.
Administration officials said he would deploy 4,000 more troops to help with the vaccine effort, bringing the total number to 6,000.