Throughout his campaign for president, there were persistent rumors that Joe Biden would seek to impose suffocating lockdown measures nationwide in light of COVID-19. But while he hasn’t yet made those moves, the option is apparently still on the table.
In a speech Thursday marking the one-year anniversary of a global pandemic being declared over the coronavirus, President Biden confirmed that restrictions on things like businesses and out-of-state travel may be reimposed in the coming weeks and months, even as the distribution of vaccines ramps up nationwide. Meanwhile, states from Texas to Michigan are already starting to fully reopen as COVID-19 case numbers drop and more vaccines are administered.
An end in sight?
According to the Washington Examiner, Biden’s remarks on the coronavirus came Thursday during his first prime-time address since taking over the Oval Office. There, the president reiterated his assertion that vaccines will be available to all adults who want one by May of this year, and set a goal of July 4 as a date when American families can safely gather again in the wake of the pandemic.
“If we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July the 4th, there’s a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbeque and celebrate Independence Day,” Biden said, according to a transcript provided by the White House.
“That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together,” the president explained. Take a look:
BIDEN: “If we do our part… by July 4, there’s a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day… Small groups will be able to get together” pic.twitter.com/j6PQwbN4qg
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 12, 2021
It’s not over yet
However, just after setting July 4 as a waypoint in the return to normalcy, President Biden cautioned that things could still take a turn for the worse — a situation that could prompt a return to the restrictions and lockdown orders that have plagued American students, business owners, and families for the last 12 months.
“We can’t let our guard down,” Biden said Thursday. “We need everyone to get vaccinated. We need everyone to keep washing their hands, stay socially distanced, and keep wearing the masks as recommended by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].”
The president added: “Because if we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track. And, please, we don’t want to do that again.”
Playing it safe?
Biden also repeatedly mentioned in his remarks the idea of “truth,” and the need to tell it with regard to the coronavirus pandemic — but as National Review‘s John McCormack argued Friday, the president quite hypocritically fell far short of that himself.
“Biden claimed that many people said his goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office was ‘way over the top’ in how ambitious it was,” McCormack wrote. “No intelligent and informed person said that goal was ambitious. It was setting a low bar that would obviously be cleared.” (The Washington Examiner reported that the goal was indeed met by Biden’s 60th day as president.)
Just keep patting yourself on the back, Joe.