Hours after signing the American Rescue Plan into law, President Joe Biden made his first prime-time television address as commander-in-chief. Biden meditated on the grim loses due to COVID-19, but assured Americans that there was a “good chance” America could be closer to normal as soon as July 4.

“While it was different for everyone, we all lost something,” Biden said in his address. “It’s the details of life that matter the most, and we miss those details … weddings, birthdays, graduations, all the things that needed to happen but didn’t.”

Biden spoke about the weakening connections between grandchildren and grandparents due to COVID-19 concerns. Current CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans say that a vaccinated person may now visit indoors with a relatively healthy unvaccinated person. The CDC cites grandparents specifically in their example.

Biden also said that there is a “good chance” Americans could have safe, small gatherings for July 4 celebrations. “After this long hard year, that will make this Independence Day something truly special,” he said. “Where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we begin to mark our independence from this virus.”

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In a sobering turn, Biden then focused on the rise of attacks against Asian-Americans. “At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans, they‘re on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives and still, still they’re forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. It‘s wrong. It‘s un-American. And it must stop,” Biden said.

Biden marked the contrast between now and a year ago when COVID-19 lockdowns began in the United States. “A year ago we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked, denials for days, weeks, then months. That led to more deaths, more infections, more stress and more loneliness.”

Biden’s American Rescue Plan stimulus plan was signed into law on Thursday and Americans with direct deposit information on file with the Internal Revenue Service could see $1400 direct payments as soon as this weekend.

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