Biden tells Americans to 'stop looking at COVID as a partisan dividing line'

·Senior Editor
·2 min read

President Biden made an appeal during Tuesday's State of the Union address to end the American political divisions inflamed by COVID-19 safety restrictions.

"We've lost so much in COVID-19 — time with one another and, worst of all, much loss of life. Let's use this moment to reset," Biden said. "So stop looking at COVID as a partisan dividing line. See it for what it is: a God-awful disease. Let's stop seeing each other as enemies and start seeing each other for who we are: fellow Americans."

President Biden, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind him, delivers the State of the Union address.
President Biden delivers the State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. (Saul Loeb/Pool via Reuters)

With new cases of COVID-19 down by 59 percent over the last 14 days, Biden said the time has come to try to resume life as normal in the United States.

"We can end the shutdown of schools and businesses. We have the tools we need. It's time for America to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again with people," he said. "People working from home can feel safe again to return to their offices."

Few issues divided Americans more than the suspension of in-person education at the nation's public schools and mask mandates for students and staff that accompanied the return to the classroom in some states. On those subjects, Biden was equally optimistic.

"Our schools are open. Let's keep it that way. Our kids need to be in school," he said, receiving a standing ovation from members of both parties, adding,"With 75 percent of adult Americans fully vaccinated and hospitalizations down by 77 percent, most Americans can remove their masks and stay in the classroom and move forward safely."

Biden continued to urge Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and noted that he had purchased "more [antiviral] pills than anyone in the world has" for Americans. "Pfizer is working overtime to get us a million pills this month and more than double that next month." Pfizer's antiviral pills, Biden said, reduce the chances that a person will be hospitalized from COVID-19 by "90 percent."

At the same time, the president stopped short of declaring victory over a pandemic that has killed more than 950,000 Americans and infected more than 75 million. He acknowledged that new variants of COVID-19 could still emerge and stall the progress made in recent weeks.

"I can't promise a new variant won't come, but I can promise you we'll do everything in our power to be ready if it does," Biden said.

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