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Biden to make first prime-time address Thursday to mark one year of Covid shutdown

The March 11 speech will mark a full year since many businesses and schools switched to a remote-only schedule.
Image: President Biden Congratulates NASA Perseverance Team On Successful Mars Landing
President Joe Biden speaks during a call to congratulate the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Perseverance team on the successful Mars landing March 4, 2021.Oliver Contreras / Getty Images

President Joe Biden will deliver his first prime-time address to the nation Thursday night to mark the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 shutdowns that rocked the United States, the White House said.

Speaking to reporters Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would use the address to “discuss the many sacrifices the American people have made over the last year and the grave loss communities and families across the country have suffered.”

Biden will also use the speech to “look forward, highlighting the role that Americans will play in beating the virus and moving the country toward getting back to normal.”

The address Thursday night will be Biden’s first in prime time. It will come March 11, marking almost exactly a full year since many businesses and schools switched to a remote-only schedule to protect people from Covid-19.

The address comes during a week of robust pandemic-related activity by the U.S. government. The House is expected to pass a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill later this week, finalizing the package and delivering money to individuals and families, as well as schools and local governments across the country. The Senate passed the bill Saturday.

Psaki said Monday that the nation was “one huge step closer to passing one of the most consequential and most progressive pieces of legislation in American history” but that the White House was “taking nothing for granted.”

There have been more than 29 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the U.S, although the number of new cases has largely stabilized or declined in much of the country. More than 527,000 people have died from the virus.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its first public health guidance aimed at resuming some kind of normal activity for people who have received a full vaccine course, saying that such individuals may safely gather with small groups from other households without wearing masks or physical distancing, even if those people have not yet had their shots.