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Biden to make 1st prime-time address Thursday marking COVID-19 anniversary

By
Don Jacobson
President Joe Biden greets a COVID-19 vaccine recipient as he visits a Veterans Affairs (VA) COVID-19 vaccination center in Washington on Monday, March 8, 2021. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
President Joe Biden greets a COVID-19 vaccine recipient as he visits a Veterans Affairs (VA) COVID-19 vaccination center in Washington on Monday, March 8, 2021. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 8 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden will make his first prime-time address to the nation this week to mark the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, the White House said Monday.

In his televised speech Thursday night, Biden will "discuss the many sacrifices the American people have made over the last year," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

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The president will honor "the grave loss communities and families across the country have suffered," but will also "look forward, highlighting the role that Americans will play in beating the virus and in moving the country toward getting back to normal," she said.

Psaki confirmed Biden's planned address after first praising the passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill by the Senate on Saturday, under which eligible households may receive the $1,400 stimulus checks as soon as this month, unemployment benefits will be extended and a wide range of pandemic recovery efforts will be funded.

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The House is expected to pass the relief bill later this week.

The nation "is one huge step closer to passing one of the most consequential and most progressive pieces of legislation in American history," Psaki said, adding that the White House is "taking nothing for granted" as the House moves to finalize the legislation.

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She also said Biden is preparing to hold his first in-person press conference with reporters since his inauguration sometime before the end of March.

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Earlier Monday, administration officials claimed success in ramping up their efforts to vaccinate more Americans against COVID-19.

"We are vaccinating a seven-day average of nearly 2.2 million Americans a day, up from about 900,000 when we came into office," White House senior adviser on COVID-19 Andy Slavitt told reporters. "Saturday was as high as 2.9 million doses reported administered -- a new daily record -- and we're at a pace seen nowhere else around the world."

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