NSSuddenly he wears a mask again. When Joe Biden took to the podium at the White House late Thursday afternoon, he did so with a black mask, put it aside before speaking, and later raised it conspicuously. Completely different than it was in the past few months. Exactly unlike the week before, in a bloated room, where the guests cared about each other and no one insisted on physical distance.
In light of the massive increase in the number of Covid infections and hospitalizations with an average of 300 deaths as a result of the virus, the Biden government quickly changed direction, tightening mask requirements on Tuesday. How dire the situation is, given the variable delta rampant and low vaccination rate in large parts of the United States, the president’s half-hour speech shows.
Biden speaks with a serious expression and emphatic speech. He’s dispensed with the hilarious spontaneous notes he’s known for. It’s hard to imagine – and absurd from today’s perspective – that this president celebrated Independence Day on the Fourth of July with a merry party on the White House lawn. “Today we are closer than ever to declaring our independence from a killer virus,” Biden said at the time. It felt like a long time ago.
Biden says the delta variant is highly transferable, and the number of cases is expected to continue to rise. This is called expectation management. There is still a lot to come, that’s how it can be summed up. “Facts, Science, Truth” stands against misinformation. Biden points to the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s health authority. In high-risk areas, ie large parts of the USA, vaccinated people are also advised to wear masks again in public and in closed rooms. Washington, D.C. is considered a dangerous area in light of the new infections. That’s why Biden appears in the East Room, wearing a mask. But how did he say on May 13th? “If you are fully vaccinated, there is no need to wear a mask.”
Biden says the mask is “not a political statement.” Masks are a way to defend yourself against the virus. Vaccinations are the best defense. The two million civilian federal employees are required to provide proof of full vaccination protection if they do not want to wear a mask. Those who have not been vaccinated should be tested regularly and are rarely allowed to go on business trips. Biden is still less constrained than many US companies that require a vaccination light. The military should add protection against Covid to mandatory vaccinations.
The situation in the United States is difficult. While much of the world is waiting for vaccines, one in two Americans think they are unnecessary. Only 49 percent of the population has full vaccination coverage, even though vaccinations have been available nationwide to everyone aged 12 and over for weeks. Only 57 percent had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Biden is emphatically addressing those who have only had one vaccination: “Get the second dose of the vaccination. right Now! right Now!”
The president is taking a more serious and tougher tone than in recent weeks. He’s giving what may be his best speech on the pandemic. He says the country is far from the mountain. Biden talks twice about the “unvaccinated pandemic.” He avoids insulting or exposing people who have not been vaccinated. But he finds clear words: “If you’re already vulnerable, you’re posing a problem—for yourself, your family, and those you work with.”
The president tries to impress the unvaccinated with rationality, compassion and national dignity. “People are dying, and they shouldn’t die,” Biden says. Talking about a doctor from Alabama, who Facebook share Haunted social networks for a week. In it, she reported on critically ill Covid patients who begged her for the vaccine, but she had to tell them she was sorry, but it was too late now. “It’s heartbreaking and avoidable,” Biden says.
Because vaccination rates are low, especially in Republican districts, Biden points to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who advocates vaccination, and to the governor of Alabama, who has similar views. He also calls Fox News TV a “conservative,” which recently abandoned its tough anti-vaccination stance.
“It’s not about the red and blue states, it’s about life and death,” Biden says. That his predecessor Donald Trump obtained a mass vaccine for the United States through Operation Warp Speed, but only secretly vaccinated himself and Biden never called on loyal fans to do so. Perhaps such an appeal by Trump to his supporters would have greatly increased the vaccination rate.
Biden says freedom means responsibility
On the other hand, Biden wants to contain the culture war over vaccinations, not fuel them. The term “freedom” is interfering with a keyword for those who do not want to be vaccinated, refuse masks, or both. Biden opposes that freedom means responsibility. In a sense, he describes vaccination as a patriotic act. Yes, Biden is practically pleading with his people by saying that everyone has this responsibility not only to themselves, but also to the people they love “and for your country.”
Biden said foreign leaders have desperately requested his vaccinations, while the United States is blessed with supplies of the vaccine. There are now reports that tens of thousands of doses of the vaccine will soon have to be disposed of in the United States because they are out of date.
All schools, the president demands, must open. This is a clear message after long video lessons in many places. More young people from the age of twelve will need to be vaccinated. Once the vaccine is approved for those under the age of twelve, the vaccination campaign will begin as soon as possible.
Biden pleads with the unvaccinated to remember the last dark winter, regardless of whether they were “scared” or “angry.” 3,600 people died day after day. He carries a note in his pocket every day, Biden says, with the number of citizens who have died from Covid so far. “There are 609,441 dead.” Biden appeals to national pride by emphasizing compassion in his voice: “These are more Americans than World War I, World War II, Vietnam, 9/11, and Iraq and Afghanistan brought back together.”
With optimism and the exception of Americans, the president is trying to convince his citizens of the destination of vaccination. The United States, a country like no other on earth, will not let it go down. You have the tools to save lives, and keep the economy going and growing. “We can do it,” Biden says. “We can do it.” This sounds like an evocation of the self. This is followed by another appeal to the vaccine spoiler, which reads: “Please, please, vaccinate!”