President Joe Biden will deliver remarks Tuesday on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic as COVID-19 cases continue surging to record levels around the country following the holidays.
Biden will urge the American public to wear masks and reiterate calls to get vaccinated and boosted. He is scheduled to speak after a meeting with his COVID response team where he is expected to receive updates on the status of resources being sent to states and what his team is doing” to expand access to COVID treatments,” a White House official told NBC News.
“In brief remarks, the President will address the American people on these updates, as well as the importance of continuing to use the tools we know protect the American people — vaccines, boosters and masking,” the official said.
Biden’s speech comes as the U.S. reported over 1 million COVID-19 cases on Monday, according to data compiled by NBC News, although many of the cases were likely backlogged from the New Year’s weekend.
Still, the nationwide explosion of cases has prompted school systems to extend their holiday break or switch back to online learning. The high infection rates and resulting worker shortages are also putting a heavy burden on employers large and small. Thousands of airline flights have been canceled in recent days, and many businesses have shelved return-to-work plans.
Generally, the fewer COVID-19 vaccines a state administered, the higher its COVID death rate in 2021. The hard-hit states also tended to have fewer restrictions that reduce spread of the coronavirus. NBCLX Political Editor Noah Pransky breaks down the data.
Policymakers and health authorities have been mindful of the toll on the economy and the education system.
Public heath experts have said that eradicating the virus is unlikely and that the world will instead have to find a way to keep COVID-19 down to an acceptable level, the way it does with the flu.
Last week, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cut the recommended COVID-19 isolation period from 10 days to five, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said: “We want to make sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science.”
And on Monday, the Food and Drug Administration gave its OK for Pfizer booster shots for children as young as 12, another development that could have a bearing on the ability of schools to stay open. Boosters already are recommended for everyone 16 and older.