President Joe Biden will make his first prime-time television address Thursday, exactly one year after the coronavirus pandemic shut down most of the nation. It will be his first major address since Inauguration Day.
More than 525,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, though 30 million people are fully vaccinated, with millions more expected to be inoculated by this summer.
"The President will deliver his first prime-time address to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown on Thursday. He will 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," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Monday's briefing.
Psaki said Biden looks forward to "highlighting the role that Americans will play in beating the virus and moving the country toward getting back to normal."
Biden has pushed back several major firsts for a president, in part due to the pandemic. He has not held a formal press briefing, and has not scheduled a date for his first joint session address to Congress, though NBC News last week reported that the latter likely would be pushed to April.
"Our hope is to be able to do it in the well of the House," an official told NBC News. "But there are a lot of factors that go into determining whether we’re able to."
Former President Donald Trump played a significant role in the development of a COVID vaccine with Operation Warp Speed, a program created by his administration to incentivize pharmaceutical companies to create a vaccine in record time.
Biden has sought to speed up delivery of the vaccine, pledging 150 million COVID vaccinations in his first 100 days.
The president's TV address is expected to come after he signs the $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package, which passed the Senate on Saturday.
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Trump declared a national emergency in the U.S. on March 13, 2020, essentially shutting down the economy for nearly a year.