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Biden sets July 4th goal as he outlines path to post-Covid normalcy, royal brand woes and reunited at last

"A July Fourth with your loved ones is the goal," President Joe Biden said during his address from the White House Thursday.
Image: Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 pandemic during his prime-time address from the East Room of the White House on Thursday. Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

A small backyard barbecue with loved ones this Fourth of July? That doesn't sound bad. President Joe Biden laid out plans for the nation's path back to normalcy in a major address last night.

Here's more on that and everything else we're watching this Friday morning.

Biden sets July 4th goal for a return to some normalcy in America

President Joe Biden set a shared goal for the nation trying to claw its way back to some semblance of normalcy after a year of the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday evening: 4th of July celebrations with close family and friends.

In his address marking the anniversary of the start of the Covid-19 shutdowns, Biden offered the country a somber reflection on a year tainted by grief and devastation, while providing a renewed sense of hope that a post-pandemic future is near if Americans do their part. (Watch the full speech)

Biden said there was a "good chance" that friends and families will be able to safely gather together in small groups to celebrate July Fourth. But he cautioned that for that to happen, Americans would need to get vaccinated and continue to follow health guidelines, such as mask-wearing.

To that end, the president announced he will direct states to make all adults eligible for vaccines no later than May 1.

Biden's first prime-time address came just hours after he signed the massive Covid-19 stimulus bill into law.

So what's actually in the bill? You might be surprised. NBC News' Sahil Kapur and Benjy Sarlin lay out some of the key provisions beyond stimulus checks that will put money into the pockets of millions of Americans.

Meantime, keep an eye on your bank account. The White House said some of the $1,400 stimulus checks could hit bank accounts via direct deposit as soon as this weekend.

Friday's top stories

Illustration of pharmacist standing in empty pharmacy with piles of paperwork surrounding her.
Anuj Shrestha / for NBC News

‘Just despicable’: Small pharmacies struggle to get reimbursed for giving Covid vaccinations

Pharmacists may be on the front line of vaccine distribution, but they feel increasingly like an afterthought when they try to get paid for it. Small local pharmacies are grappling with mountains of paperwork to get reimbursed for administering the vaccines — pushing many mom and pop pharmacists to the brink financially. By Phil McCausland | Read more

Harry and Meghan's interview hit the royal brand where it hurts most

What made Harry and Meghan's interview uniquely damaging, according to some observers, was that it did not focus on individuals but rather painted a damning picture of the royal institution itself. "The greatest damage for the monarchy lies in what this has done to its international reputation," said one expert. By Alexander Smith | Read more

One year later, these women are keeping the fight for justice for Breonna Taylor alive

In Kentucky, Black women stepped up to organize rallies, press officials and draft policy. But above all, they emphasized the message that Black women are not an afterthought. "It has given a lot of women a voice who didn't realize they had one or didn't know how to use it," said Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother. By Chloe Atkins | Read more

OPINION: Kids are achieving learning milestones more slowly during Covid. Here's why that matters.

It isn't whether students keep up with their peers or even adult standards. Studies suggest a failure to thrive academically can stay with kids for life. By Yolie Flores | Read more

If student deaths won’t stop fraternity hazing, what will?

Since 2000, there have been more than 50 hazing-related deaths. The causes are varied but the tragedies almost always involve a common denominator: Greek life. Two recent deaths have ignited renewed calls for reform, but questions remain if that will be enough. By Ben Kesslen | Read more

BETTER: How virtual fitness classes are providing much-needed community right now

Virtual high-fives and post-class coffee dates on Zoom are helping the fitness community re-create the camaraderie of the gym. By Brianna Steinhilber | Read more

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Reconnecting... at last

After a painful year for many seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, they are finally beginning to reconnect with loved ones.

NBC News' Lester Holt reports on some heartwarming reunions after a year of lockdown.

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown. Have a good weekend.

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Thanks, Petra