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President Joe Biden to make first prime-time address to nation Thursday

Joey Garrison, USA TODAY
·2 min read
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will make his first prime-time address Thursday night to commemorate the one-year anniversary of shutdowns taken across the nation at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced the address during Monday's press briefing. She did not provide a time or say where the president will deliver remarks.

"He will discuss the many sacrifices that the American people have made over the last year and the grave loss communities and families across the country have suffered," Psaki said. "The president will look forward, highlighting the role that Americans will play in beating the virus and moving the country to getting back to normal."

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More than 525,000 Americans have died from the COVID-19 virus, which began spreading in the U.S. one year ago. State lockdowns rapidly closed businesses across the country, spiking unemployment to a high of 14.8% last April before steadily improving.

The address will take place after Biden is expected to win final approval of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Tuesday, when the House takes up a version of the legislation that the Senate voted 50-49 along party-lines Saturday to approve.

More: 'Dinner table' politics: Why Joe Biden ditched bipartisan dealmaking to pass his COVID-19 relief bill

More: 6 takeaways from the Senate's approval of Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

It also comes as the White House is increasingly touting its success deploying COVID-19 vaccines. An average of 2.2 million vaccine doses were administered over the past week, up from 900,000 when Biden entered office.

"We're at a pace seen nowhere else around the world," Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser for the White House's COVID-19 Response, said Monday.

It remains unclear when the president will deliver his first address to a join session of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is tasked with setting that date. Psaki has indicated the State of the Union, usually held before a packed joint session at the Capitol, could look different this year because of coronavirus restrictions.

Biden also still hasn't taken questions from reporters at a formal press conference as president. That will soon change, Psaki said, with plans to hold his first press conference by the end of this month.

More: Joe Biden campaigned as the mask candidate. Now he's facing the limits of the bully pulpit

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @Joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Biden to make first prime-time address to nation on Thursday