Category Archives: Coronavirus Pandemic

Biden Calls for a Month of Action to Get Americans Vaccinated to Get to a Summer of Freedom, a Summer of Joy

“The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we’re going to have in our fight against this virus,” said President Joe Biden. “America is headed into the summer dramatically different from last year’s summer: a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations. An all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long, dark winter that we’ve all endured.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Joe Biden is calling for June to be a “Month of Action” – a full-court press to reach the goal of 70 percent of Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4th. He outlined the unprecedented peacetime effort to make the vaccinations available for free, and even enticing incentives from governments, companies and sports organizations. New York State is awarding full four-year scholarships at a SUNY college; Ohio is picking $1 million lottery winners. The Biden Administration has created a website in order to find the nearest place to get a vaccination by texting your zipcode, organized free Uber lifts, free drop-in-day care and incentivized employers to give paid leave to get the shot.

“The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we’re going to have in our fight against this virus,” he said. “America is headed into the summer dramatically different from last year’s summer: a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations. An all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long, dark winter that we’ve all endured.”

Here are his remarks:

In just four months, thanks to the American people, we have made incredible progress getting people vaccinated quickly, efficiently, and equitably. Nearly 170 million Americans of every party, every background, every walk of life have stepped up, rolled up their sleeves, and gotten the shot.
 
Fifty-two percent of adults are now fully vaccinated, including seventy-five percent of all seniors. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have achieved 50 percent of adults being fully vaccinated in their jurisdictions.
 
And it’s clearer than ever: The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we’re going to have in our fight against this virus.
 
Since January 20 — and we’re talking, now, about 15 [5] months — the average daily cases are down from 184,000 to 19,000, below 20,000 for the first time since March of 2020. Average hospitalizations are down from 117,000 to 21,000. Death rates are down over 85 percent.
 
And this didn’t just happen by chance. We got to this moment because we took aggressive action from day one with a whole-of-government response. We used every lever at our disposal to get this done.
 
We experienced the production and expanded it in a significant way: in lifesaving vaccines available for every single American. They’re available, and we knew that was the case months ago.
 
We worked with cities and states to create over 80,000 vaccination sites. We deployed over 9,000 federal staff, including 5,100 active-duty troops to help get shots in arms. Now, as a result, we have built a world-class vaccination program.
 
I promised you we’d marshal a wartime effort to defeat this virus, and that’s just what we’ve been doing.
 
And now, tens of millions of Americans have been vaccinated. They’re able to return to closer to a — closer-to-normal life.
 
Fully vaccinated people are safely shedding their masks and greeting one another with a smile. Grandparents are hugging their grandkids again. Small-business owners are reopening storefronts and restaurants.
 
Because of the vaccination strategy, our economic strategy, we’re — experienced the strongest economic recovery this country has seen in decades.
 
There is a group called the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development — OECD — which includes most of the world’s largest economies in its membership. They’ve been one of those leading bodies analyzing economic growth across — around the world for 60 years.
 
Just this week, they increased their projection for the U.S. economic growth this year to 6.9 percent — 6.9 percent. That’s the fastest pace in nearly four decades. And that’s because of our vaccination program and our economic response, which, alone, are adding 3 to 4 percentage points to our growth; driving stronger growth not just there — not just this year, but in years to come.
 
In fact, America is the only major country where global forecasters have actually increased their five-year forecasts for economic growth since January of 2020.
 
And because of that, America is headed into the summer dramatically different from last year’s summer: a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations. An all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long, dark winter that we’ve all endured.
 
But what happens after the summer? The data could not be clearer: For all the progress we’re making as a country, if you are unvaccinated, you are still at risk of getting seriously ill or dying, or spreading disease to others, especially when Americans spend more time indoors again, closely gathered in the fall, as — and as we face the potential threat of a new, more dangerous variants. 
 
Even now, if you look at the areas of the country where vaccination rates are the highest, the death — the death rates are dramatically falling. They — the vaccines are effective; they’re effective against the variants currently circulating in the United States. On the other hand, COVID deaths are unchanged in many parts of our country that are lagging behind in vaccinations.
 
And for young people who may think this doesn’t affect you, listen up, please: This virus, even a mild case, can be with you for months. It will impact on your social life. It could have long-term implications for your health that we don’t even know about yet or fully understand yet.
 
It’s true that young people are much less likely to die from COVID. But if you do not get vaccinated, you could get COVID sooner or later. But you could get COVID still.
 
A substantial percentage of people with COVID, even young people, will suffer illnesses, and some will have long-term health impacts as a consequence.
 
If you’re thinking that the side effects from the shot are worse than the COVID, or that you can’t just take a chance, you are just dead wrong.
 
Do it for yourself. Do it to protect those more vulnerable than you: your friends, you family, your community.
 
You know, some people have questions about how quickly the vaccines were developed. They say they’ve been developed so quickly, they can’t be that good. Well, here’s what you need to know: Vaccines were developed over a decade of research in similar viruses, and they’ve gone through strict FDA clinical trials.
 
The bottom line is this — I promise you: They are safe. They are safe. And even more importantly, they’re extremely effective.
 
And if you’re vaccinated, you are protected. If you are not vaccinated, you are not protected.
 
Places with high vaccination rates will also see fewer cases of COVID moving forward. Places with lower vaccination rates are going to see more.
 
You know, we were elected to be President and Vice President for all Americans. And I don’t want to see the country that is already too divided become divided in a new way — between places where people live free from fear of COVID and places where, when the fall arrives, death and severe illnesses return.
 
The vaccine is free, it’s safe, and it’s effective. Getting the vaccine is not a partisan act. The science was done under Democratic and Republican administrations. Matter of fact, the first vaccines were authorized under a Republican President and widely developed by a Democratic President — deployed by a Democratic President.
 
All over the world, people are desperate to get a shot that every American can get at their neighborhood drug store at no cost, with no wait.
 
Every American over 12 years of age — no matter where you live, what you believe, who you voted for — has the right to get vaccinated. It’s your choice.
 
So, please, exercise your freedom, live without fear. We need to be one America, united — free from fear this fall.
 
Now, how will we keep beating this virus as we enter — as we enter the fall after summer? On May 4, I asked Americans to come together to get 70 percent of adults with one shot by July 4th — 70 percent at least with one shot. To date, 12 states have already reached this important milestone. We expect — we expect more to make this milestone this week.
 
Nationally, we are at 63 percent of adults with one shot. And we are getting closer, but we still have work to do. With 73 percent of Americans over the age of 40 with one shot, and as — we especially need people under 40 to step up. Over 40 is doing much better.
 
That’s why, today, we’re announcing a month-long effort to pull all the stops — all the stops to free ourselves from this virus and get to 70 percent of adult Americans vaccinated.
 
Now, I’m going to take everyone — you know, it’s going to take everyone — everyone — the federal government; the state governments; local, Tribal, and territorial governments; the private sector; and, most importantly, the American people — to get to the 70 percent mark so we can declare our independence from COVID-19 and free ourselves from the grip it has held over us — our lives for the better part of a year.
 
Each of you has the power to help us gain this freedom as a nation. If you get a shot this week, you can be fully vaccinated by July 4th — by the week of July the 4th. And you can celebrate Independence Day free from fear or worry.
 
This effort has five key parts. First, we’re making it easier than ever to get vaccinated. Ninety percent of you live within five miles of a vaccination site. The vaccinations are free, and most places allow walk-up vaccinations. No appointment needed.
 
You can go to Vaccines.gov or text your ZIP Code to 438829 to get a text back with the places you can get a shot that are close by.
 
And now, we’re going to make it even easier. In response to our call to action, businesses and organizations across the country have stepped up to help everyone get vaccinated.
 
Starting next week, many vaccination sites will be offering extended hours during the month of June, including pharmacies that will be open 24 hours every Friday night — for 24 hours they’ll be open — this month.
 
And if you’re too busy at work or school, you can get vaccinated around the clock on any Friday. Any Friday.
 
For parents who haven’t been able to get the shot because they didn’t have the childcare: Starting today, KinderCare, Learning Care Group, the Bright Horizons, alongside with hundreds of YMC- loc- — YMCA locations, are going to offer free drop-in childcare while the parents are getting vaccinated.
 
In addition, Uber and Lyft are both offering free rides to and from vaccination sites — vaccination centers. It’s easier than ever to get vaccinated.
 
So, again, text 438829 to find out what the nearest places you can get vaccinated are from your ZIP Code. And visit pharmacies with an extended-hour and walk-up shots that are available. Free childcare, free rides, free shots.
 
Second, we’re going to redouble our outreach and public education efforts. We’re going to relaunch them, in effect. We’re going to launch a national vaccination tour to encourage people to take the shot. The Vice President is going to lead that tour across the South and the Midwest, where we still had millions of people to vaccinate.
 
She’s going to be joined by Jill — by the First Lady and the Second Gentleman and Cabinet Secretaries along the way.
 
In the spirit of meeting people where they are, we’ll also be working with the Black Coalition Against COVID and other organizations to launch a new initiative called “Shots at the Shop.” Barbershops, beauty shops are hubs of activity and information in Black and brown communities in particular, but in many communities across the nation. Local barbers, stylists, they become key advocates for vaccinations in their communities, offering information to customers, booking appointments for them, even using their own businesses as vaccination sites. We’re going to work with shops across the country to make an even bigger impact over the next month.
 
We’ll also kick things off this weekend with a National Canvassing Weekend, where thousands of volunteers will be out knocking on doors and encourage their communities to get vaccinated.
 
And mayors — mayors will be stepping up even more over the next month and partnering with us on the City Vaccination Challenge to see which city can grow its vaccination rate the fastest — the most — by July 4th.
 
We need you to join these efforts. This is the kind of on-the-ground work that’s going to get the job done.
 
Third, we’ll be increasing our work with employers — employers. A lot of working people are holding back because they’re concerned about losing pay if they take time off to get a shot, or if they don’t feel well the next day. I’ve said before: For small- and medium-sized employers, if you give people paid time off to get a shot, you’ll get a tax credit to cover that cost.
 
Already, millions of workers across the country are eligible for paid time off and incentives from their employers. I’m asking all employers: Do the right thing.
 
And we’re making it easy for employers to set up on-the-job vaccination clinics to make it even more convenient for their employees to get a shot.
 
Fourth, we’re going to continue encouraging people to get vaccinated with incentives and fun rewards. The state of Ohio had a heck of a fun reward — a new millionaire last week — thanks to the creative idea of the governor for holding a vaccination — a vaccine lottery.
 
The grocery store, Kroger, announced that they’re going to give away $1 million each week to someone who gets vaccinated at one of their pharmacies.
 
The NBA, the NHL, NASCAR — NASCAR tracks — they’re offering vaccine- — vaccines outside playoff games and at races. Major League Baseball will be offering free tickets to people who get vaccinated at the ballpark.
 
And to top it off, Anheuser-Busch announced that beer is on them on July the 4th. That’s right, get a shot and have a beer. Free beer for everyone 21 years or over to celebrate the independence from the virus.
 
Fifth, and finally, we’re asking the American people to help. We need you. We need you to get your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers vaccinated. Help them find an appointment. Drive them to the site. Talk to them about why you made the choice for yourself. So many Americans have already stepped up to help get their communities vaccinated.
 
And over the next month, we’re going to need you more than ever. We need every American to commit to the five actions I’ve mentioned this month.
 
Go to WeCanDoThis.HHS.gov — WeCanDoThis.HHS.gov — to sign up to volunteer and learn more about how you can help.
 
Take at least five actions to help in June. And you might even be invited to visit us at the White House in July to celebrate independence together.
 
I’ll close with this: We need everyone across the country to pull together to get us over the finish line. I promise you we can do this. Just look at what we’ve already done — we’ve already accomplished together in only four months.
 
We know it for a fact: Americans could do anything when we do it together. So, please, do your part. Give it your all through July the 4th. Let’s reach our 70 percent goal. Let’s go into the summer freer and safer. Let’s celebrate a truly historic Independence Day.

“The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we’re going to have in our fight against this virus,” he said. “America is headed into the summer dramatically different from last year’s summer: a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations. An all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long, dark winter that we’ve all endured.”

Biden Announces National Month of Action to Mobilize All-of-America Sprint to Get 70% Americans Vaccinated by July4th

National Month of Action will mobilize national organizations, local government leaders, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, employers, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers

President Biden highlights additional efforts by businesses and organizations across the country to advance equity and make it even easier to get vaccinated

Vice President Kamala Harris will lead a National Vaccination Tour to encourage vaccinations in key communities across the country

 

President Biden has mobilized the greatest peacetime effort in order to get 70 percent of Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4th, which he said would be a true Independence Day against the debilitating, lethal coronavirus that has so crippled the economy and society, He has made it as easy as possible and the vaccine available everywhere – organizing free lifts, employer paid leave, child care, while state governments and companies have come up with incentives, ranging from free beer or baseball tickets to a million dollar lottery prize © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Biden announced June would be a National Month of Action to mobilize an all-of-America sprint to get 70% of U.S. adults at least one shot by July 4th, so that more people can get the protection they need to be safe from a pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans.  July 4th, he said, would be a true Day of Independence against this debilitating, lethal virus.

Throughout the month, national organizations, local government leaders, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, employers, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers across the nation will work together to get their communities vaccinated. 

The President announced a slew of actions that will make it even easier to get vaccinated, mobilize the country around vaccine outreach and education efforts,and incentivize vaccination. Additionally, organizations and businesses from across the country continue to step up and respond to the President’s call to action.

Thanks to the President’s whole-of-government response, the U.S. has made significant progress in its fight against the pandemic since the President took office less than 5 months ago. Already, 63% of adult Americans have gotten vaccinated, including 73% of Americans age 40 and over, and COVID-19 cases and deaths have plummeted as a result – cases are down over 90% and deaths are down over 85% since January 20th. 

Twelve states have already given at least one shot to 70% of adults and more than 28 states and D.C. have fully vaccinated 50% or more of their adult populations, but millions of Americans still need protection against the virus.
 
Organizations and business from across the country have stepped up and responded to the President’s call to action. 

The National Month of Action will include the following initiatives:
 
MAKING IT EASIER TO GET VACCINATED AND ADVANCING EQUITY
 

  • Free child care for individuals getting vaccinated: Four of the nation’s largest child care providers will offer free child care to all parents and caregivers getting vaccinated or recovering from vaccination from now until July 4th. KinderCare and Learning Care Group locations across the country will offer free, drop-in appointments to any parent or caregiver who needs support to get vaccinated or recover from vaccination, and more than 500 YMCAs in nearly every state will offer drop-in care during vaccination appointments. Bright Horizons will also provide free child care to support the vaccination of over 10 million workers employed at participating organizations. The vaccine is free for everyone, however, many unvaccinated Americans report concern about the potential ripple expenses of getting vaccinated, such as having to pay for child care.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is also issuing new guidance that encourages states to use child care funding from the American Rescue Plan to provide financial incentives to neighborhood- and home-based child care providers who join the President’s call to action and support their communities in getting vaccinated. Visit Vaccines.gov/incentives.html to learn more.
     
  • Extended hours at pharmacies across the country in June to offer more flexible appointment availability: Starting next week, thousands of pharmacies nationwide will stay open late every Friday in June, and offer services throughout the night to make sure Americans can get their shot. These extended hours will ensure that those with less flexible work hours have the opportunity to get vaccinated at times convenient to them. Participating pharmacy chains include Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens.

 
MOBILIZING THE COUNTRY TO DO MORE VACCINATION EDUCATION AND OUTREACH:

  • Community Canvassing, Phone Banking, Text Banking, and Vaccination Events: The Administration’s organizing efforts will focus on what we know works best to ensure everyone has equitable vaccine access: person-to-person action that connects people with key resources and information like Vaccines.gov, text 4-3-8-8-2-9, the National COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline (1-800-232-0233), and more. The Month of Action will include calls and texts to people in areas with low vaccination rates and canvasses in neighborhoods close to walk-in clinics where people can get vaccinated on the spot. More than 100 organizations have already committed to host over 1,000 events the first weekend alone, with thousands of additional events to take place over the course of the month. The President will call on Americans to take at least five actions to help their communities during the Month of Action, and some volunteers may be invited to visit the White House in July. Americans can visit WeCanDoThis.hhs.gov to learn more and sign up to help their communities get vaccinated.
     
  • “We Can Do This” National Vaccination Tour: The President will announce the Vice President will lead a nation-wide tour to reach millions of Americans who still need protection against the virus, to highlight the ease of getting vaccinated, encourage vaccinations, and energize and mobilize grassroots vaccine education and outreach efforts. The Vice President’s travel will be anchored in the South, and the First Lady, the Second Gentleman, and members of the Cabinet will also join the Administration’s tour to communities across the country.
     
  • Mayors Challenge to Increase Vaccination Rates in Cities Across America: Mayors across the country are stepping up to help in this effort by launching the “Mayors Challenge,” a competition to see which city can grow its vaccination rate the most by July 4th. Participating mayors commit to taking actions throughout the month to boost vaccinations, such as coordinated canvassing efforts, partnerships with local businesses, and incentives for local residents. The Administration has created a toolkit for mayors and local leaders, and will help recognize the winning cities later this year. More than 50 mayors of cities in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, and, as well as D.C., have already signed up the challenge, which is being run in collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
     
  • Shots at the Shop – A New Initiative to Engage Black-Owned Barbershops and Beauty Salons: The President will announce the Administration is teaming up with the Black Coalition Against COVID, the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity, and SheaMoisture to launch “Shots at the Shop,” an initiative that will engage Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons across the country to support local vaccine education and outreach efforts. Throughout the month of June, each participating shop will engage customers with information about the vaccines, display educational materials, and host on-site vaccination events in partnership with local providers. The “Shots at the Shop” initiative will invite participation from across the country, with a particular focus on supporting shops in some of the hardest-hit localities still experiencing significant gaps in vaccination rates.
     
  • Blanketing Local TV and Radio and Social Media to Get Americans the Facts and Answer Their Questions: The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), representing more than 7,000 TV and radio stations across the country, will have local station members participate in the National Month of Action. NAB members will be airing vaccine education segments in their programming featuring trusted voices from the community, as well as medical professionals from leading medical associations across the country, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and Primary Care Collaborative. Medical experts will have the opportunity to share information on benefits of vaccination, address questions and concerns, and publicize where individuals in the community can get vaccinated. And, the Administration will continue deploying medical experts, public health leaders, and Cabinet officials through a whole-of-government approach to communicate directly with Americans, including by working with social media platforms and engaging celebrities and influencers to reach people where they are.
     
  • COVID-19 College Challenge: The Administration is launching the COVID-19 College Challenge, where colleges and universities can take a pledge and commit to taking action to get their students and communities vaccinated by going to WhiteHouse.gov/COVIDCollegeChallenge and signing up. As part of the challenge, the Administration will provide resources like training sessions, toolkits, and educational material to assist colleges and universities in vaccination efforts; facilitate on-site vaccinations at schools; and launch a student corps within the COVID-19 Community Corps to recognize and activate students across the country who are taking extraordinary efforts to draw young people out to get vaccinated and engage the youth community. More than 200 colleges in 43 states have already taken the pledge and committed to the COVID-19 College Challenge. This challenge builds on the Administration’s work to facilitate partnerships between more than 60 community colleges and pharmacies in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program to provide pop-up vaccination clinics at high-enrollment community colleges between now and July 4th.

 
INCENTIVIZING VACCINATION
 
Business Incentives for Vaccinated Americans: Thousands of employers and businesses have already stepped up to support vaccination efforts, including by offering incentives for vaccinations and providing their workers paid-leave for vaccinations. During the Month of Action, the Administration will continue working with employers to make it even easier to set up workplace vaccination clinics, and call on more businesses to encourage and incentivize vaccinations.
 
Starting today, Americans will be able to find a list of these and other incentives on Vaccines.gov/incentives.html. Examples of new private sector actions and incentives that recently launched include:

  • Anheuser-Busch will give away free beer to all adults over the age of 21 in America on July 4th to celebrate the country’s progress against COVID.
     
  • CVS launched a sweepstakes for vaccinated people to win free cruises, tickets to Super Bowl LVI, and cash prizes.
     
  • Door Dash will give $2 million in gift cards to the National Association of Community Health Centers to incentivize vaccinations.
     
  • Major League Baseball teams will offer on-site vaccinations at games and give free tickets to those who get vaccinated.
     
  • Microsoft will give away thousands of Xboxes to Boys and Girls Clubs in hard-hit areas who will run promotions and educational seminars about the importance of vaccinations in hard-hit and hard-to-reach communities.
     
  • Kroger launched a “Community Immunity” program to give $1 million to a vaccinated person every week in June and give dozens of vaccinated Americans free groceries for a year.
     

United Airlines launched the “Your Shot to Fly” Sweepstakes for Mileage Plus members to win a year of free flights or a roundtrip for two in any class of service.

Dating Apps Answer White House Call to Action, Launch New Efforts to Encourage COVID Vaccinations

Okay to date again! In support of President Biden’s goal of getting 70 percent of adults at least one shot by July 4, the largest dating apps in America – Tinder, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, and Badoo – are launching new features and incentives to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tinder, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, and Badoo to create badges displaying vaccination status and offer vaccinated Americans free premium benefits

In support of President Biden’s goal of getting 70 percent of adults at least one shot by July 4, the largest dating apps in America will launch new features to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. These companies join organizations across the country that have answered the President’s call by stepping up and offering incentives and information to help Americans get vaccinated. 

Today, dating apps are announcing that they will offer a variety of features such as:

  • Badges showing vaccination status
  • Access to free premium content like boosts, super likes, and super swipes for vaccinated people
  • In-app promotions and links to vaccines.gov or the text code for users
  • Filters so individuals can see individuals who have been vaccinated

According to research from OKCupid, people who are vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated receive 14% more Matches than people who don’t plan to get vaccinated. Specific actions by dating apps will launch over the next several weeks, including:

  • Tinder: Members will be able to add stickers to their profile including “I’m Vaccinated” or “Vaccines Save Lives.” And vaccinated users will have access to free premium content like a “Super Like” to help them stand out among potential matches. Tinder will also launch a “Vaccine Center” with a suite of resources to education and connect users with their nearest vaccination site. Tinder is the world’s biggest non-gaming app.
  • OkCupid: Daters will be able toadd an “I’m Vaccinated” profile badge and be featured within OkCupid’s “Vaccinated Stacks,” a new matching system that lets users search by vaccination status. Vaccinated people will also receive a free “Boost” to move their profile to the front of a daters’ stack. The campaign will begin on May 24 and will continue to help daters “Match on What Matters.”
  • Bumble and Badoo will enable all U.S. customers to add a “vaccinated” badge to their profiles. In addition, Bumble and Badoo will give vaccinated users complimentary credits for premium features such as Spotlight and Superswipes across both apps. The apps will also leverage their network of influencers to amplify the need to get vaccinated as part of a push this summer.
  • BLK will add a new “Vaxified” profile badge for singles to show their support in ending the COVID-19 pandemic. When vaccinated individuals add the badge to their profile, they will receive a free “Boost” on the app to be one of the first profiles seen by potential matches. The features will launch on June 1. BLK is the largest dating app made for Black singles.
  • Chispa will add a new “Vacunado” profile badge for Latinx singles to show their support for ending the pandemic. Vaccinated individuals who add the badge will get a free “Boost,” making them one of the first profiles to be seen by their matches. The feature will be available starting June 1. Chispa is the largest dating app for Latino singles in English and Spanish.
  • Hinge: Hinge will encourage users to share their vaccination status on their profile and give vaccinated users a free “Rose,” which is premium content that indicates to other users that they’re especially excited to get to know them. As the dating app “designed to be deleted,” Hinge is focused on helping its community get back out on dates and in safe relationships.
  • Match: Members will have the option to add a new “Vaccinated” badge to their profile to display their vaccine status, with vaccinated Americans getting access to a free “Boost” to help them stand out on the app.
  • Plenty of Fish: Members will be able to add an “I Got My Shot” badge to their profiles in early June. Those who participate will receive 20 Live! credits to use on the Plenty of Fish Live! streaming feature. In the spirit of Plenty of Fish’s mission to create low pressure dating experiences, this campaign will provide members with one less question to ask so they can start building meaningful connections.

More than 60% of U.S. adults have gotten at least one vaccine shot. It’s easier than ever to get vaccinated, with more than 80,000 locations with vaccines and 90% of Americans live within 5 miles of a vaccine. Find out more about where to get vaccinated by visiting Vaccines.gov or texting their zip code 438829.

Biden Administration to Invest $7 Billion to Hire Public Health Workers, Rebuild Public Health Departments

Funding Will Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs to Respond to COVID-19, Prepare U.S. for Future Outbreaks, and Support Local Public Health Officials
 
As Vaccine for Adolescents Comes Online, Administration Sets Aside Dedicated Funding for School Nurses, Who Can Help Provide Information about Vaccinations

 

The Biden-Harris Administration will invest $7.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and hire public health workers to respond to the pandemic and prepare for future public health challenges. The funding will allow the United States to expand its public health workforce, creating tens of thousands of jobs to support vaccinations, testing, contact tracing, and community outreach, and strengthen America’s future public health infrastructure. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Even as the CDC is lifting mask and social-distancing requirements for fully vaccinated people, the Biden Administration is looking to the long-term health of the nation, our ability to get through COVID-19, but also be well positioned for the next pandemic or public health crisis. The Biden-Harris Administration announced it would invest $7.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and hire public health workers and also redress the fact that over the past several decades, public health departments have been hollowed out. The White House provided this fact sheet:

As part of its ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, the Biden-Harris Administration will invest $7.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and hire public health workers to respond to the pandemic and prepare for future public health challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced that public health workers are essential, providing critical services to keep Americans safe and healthy. The funding announced today will allow the United States to expand its public health workforce, creating tens of thousands of jobs to support vaccinations, testing, contact tracing, and community outreach, and strengthen America’s future public health infrastructure.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration will invest $4.4 billion to allow states and localities to expand their over-stretched public health departments with additional staff to support COVID-19 response efforts. This funding will support a range of public health roles, including funding for Disease Intervention Specialists to do contact tracing, case management, and support outbreak investigations, and dedicated funding to hire school nurses to help schools safely reopen and remain open for in-person instruction. Additionally, funds will support the development of the next generation of public health leaders by creating a Public Health AmeriCorps and expanding CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service – the renowned program that equips workers to identify and contain public health outbreaks.
 
Finally, CDC will use $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan to create a new grant program that will facilitate federal investment in the people and expertise needed at the state and local levels to expand, train, and modernize the public health workforce for the future. In the months ahead, CDC will work with leaders from across the public health community to design this new grant program.
 
All awardees of this American Rescue Plan funding will be asked to prioritize recruiting individuals from the communities they will serve and from backgrounds underrepresented in critical public health professions.
 
Today’s funding builds on the President’s announcement last week of $250 million to help community -based organizations hire and mobilize community outreach workers and social support specialists to increase access to vaccinations in the hardest-hit and highest risk communities. 
 
The Biden-Harris Administration will:
 
Invest $4.4 Billion to Surge Public Health Staffing for COVID-19 Response
 
Help States and Localities Increase their Public Health Staffing and Expertise:  State and local public health heroes have led the fight against COVID-19 for more than a year. Often understaffed and lacking resources, local public health departments have provided critical services during the pandemic, including setting up testing sites, leading local vaccination efforts, and delivering personal protective equipment, therapeutics, and care to those in need. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, CDC will fund $3.4 billion in new hiring for state and local public health departments to quickly add staff to support critical COVID-19 response efforts – including vaccination outreach and administration efforts, testing and contact tracing, epidemiologists, data scientists, and other vital public health functions. This funding includes at least $500 million for the hiring of school nurses, who can offer medical expertise to support parents and teens as vaccination options for younger people expand. This builds on resources in the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund which can also be used to hire school nurses.
 
Launch Public Health AmeriCorps: At a time of unprecedented interest in public health, CDC and AmeriCorps (the Corporation for National and Community Service) will launch the Public Health AmeriCorps – a $400 million investment from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and build a new workforce ready to respond to the public health needs of the nation. The program will focus on building a diverse pipeline for the public health workforce and providing direct service to communities across the country. The partnership will leverage the expertise of both agencies, capitalizing on AmeriCorps’ experience managing some of the most prominent public service and workforce development programs in the nation while benefitting from CDC’s technical expertise as the country’s leading public health agency.
 
Recruit and Train Public Health Leaders: CDC will expand its current workforce programs, including the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). EIS is a national, deployable, cutting-edge public health workforce that responds to local outbreaks. Over the past seven decades, EIS officers have served as boots-on-the-ground epidemiologists during some of the most severe outbreaks and public health emergencies, including the Ebola outbreak, H1N1, the Flint water crisis, Zika, and the COVID-19 pandemic. With $245 million from the American Rescue Plan, CDC will increase support for programs including EIS, the Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program, and the Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases RISE Fellowship, which offers students from underrepresented background the opportunity to study infectious diseases and health disparities. Expanding these programs will support workforce diversity in public health to help reduce longstanding health disparities and inequities. In addition, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will invest $80 million to train public health professionals to help modernize the public health data infrastructure, with a focus on recruiting from minority serving institutions and universities.
 
Building the Laboratory Workforce and Building Capacity for Future Outbreaks: With $337 million from the American Rescue Plan, CDC will strengthen the public health laboratory workforce pipeline. CDC will expand the current public health laboratory fellowship programs for laboratory science graduates and implement a new public health internship program for undergraduate students to gain experiences in public health laboratory settings. Funds will improve the capacity of the nation’s public-private clinical laboratory infrastructure to support rapid, large-scale responses to public health emergencies.
 
Invest $3 Billion to Prepare for Future Pandemics
 
Create a New Program to Modernize the Public Health Workforce: CDC will create a new grant program to provide under-resourced health departments with the support they need to hire staff and build a strong public health workforce. This grant program will offer community health workers and others hired for the COVID-19 response an opportunity to continue their careers beyond the pandemic as public health professionals. CDC will convene federal, state, local, and territorial public health experts to inform the design and focus of this new grant program. Ultimately, the program will allow the United States to continue to support the nation’s public health infrastructure, particularly in lower-income and underserved communities.

NY, NJ, CT Lift Most Capacity COVID19 Restrictions on Businesses, Gatherings & Venues Starting May 19 Citing Vaccination Progress

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Governors cite the success of vaccination programs and decline in COVID-19 case rates to lift most industry capacity restrictions, beginning May 19 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to Lift Most Industry Capacity Restrictions Beginning May 19 Given Vaccination Progress and COVID-19 Case Decline

Business Capacity Limits to Be Replaced with Space Available to Maintain Six Feet of Social Distancing on May 19 in New York and New Jersey

Outdoor Social Gathering Limit Increases to 500 on May 10 in New York; Indoor Social Gathering Limit Increases to 250 on May 19 in New York

Outdoor Residential Gathering Limit is Removed and Indoor Residential Gathering Limit Increases to 50 on May 19 in New York

Large-Scale Indoor Venue Capacity Increases to 30% and Large-Scale Outdoor Venue Capacity Increases to 33% on May 19, Proof of Vaccination or Recent Negative Test Still Required in New York

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced a significant easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on the region’s businesses, venues and gatherings given significant progress in vaccinations and sustained reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

“The tide is turning against COVID-19 in New York, and thanks to our increasing vaccination rates, as well as our successful, data-based regional approach, we’re able to take more steps to reopen our economy, help businesses and workers, and keep moving towards returning to normal,” Governor Cuomo said. “Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers and our partners in government, we are now able to increase capacity limits for businesses, event venues and residences to reflect what we’re seeing in the COVID data. Maintaining this progress is critical and in order to keep moving in a positive direction, New Yorkers must continue to take all the proper precautions. If we let up now, we could slide backwards and that is something nobody wants. So, let’s be safe and for anyone who has yet to be vaccinated, please do so as soon as you can. With the addition of walk-in appointments, we’ve made it as easy as every to get your shot, so there are truly no excuses.”

Governor Phil Murphy said,”With our COVID-19 numbers, particularly hospitalizations, trending decisively in the right direction and our vaccination goals within reach, now is the time to take major steps to reopen our economy and loosen both indoor and outdoor gathering and capacity restrictions. We’ve done this the right way, in partnership with our neighboring states of New York and Connecticut, and by allowing data, science, and public health to guide our decision-making. Over these next few weeks, I encourage all remaining eligible New Jerseyans to get vaccinated so we can continue fighting back against this virus and move toward a ‘new normal’ for ourselves, our neighbors, and our loved ones.”

Governor Ned Lamont said, “Our region has led by example since the beginning of the pandemic, taking the virus seriously and working collaboratively across state lines to the benefit of all of our residents. We were able announce the elimination of business restrictions due to a nation-leading vaccine distribution program which benefits all Connecticut residents, and our neighbors in New York and New Jersey.”

New York and New Jersey Announce Today:

Social Distance-based Business Capacities

Effective May 19, most business capacities—which are currently based upon percentage of maximum occupancy—will be removed in New York and New Jersey. Businesses will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet. This new distance-based maximum capacity will apply across commercial settings, including retail, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services, among other settings. It will also apply in houses of worship.

Increase in Social and Residential Gathering Limits

In New York beginning May 10, the outdoor social gathering limit will increase from 200 to 500 people. Beginning May 19, the indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people. Also, the outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people will be removed, reverting to the social gathering limit of 500 people with space for appropriate social distancing, and the indoor residential gathering limit will increase from 10 to 50 people. In New York, any event gatherings in excess of the social gathering limits may only occur if all individuals present proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result.

Event Venues

Congregate commercial and social events in New York—such as those at venues that host sports competitions, performing arts and live entertainment, and catered receptions—can exceed the social gathering limits of 500 people outdoors or 250 people indoors if all attendees over the age of four present either proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result and the required social distancing can be accommodated. 

Starting May 19, large-scale indoor event venues will operate at 30 percent capacity, which is an increase from the current 10 percent capacity limit. Large-scale outdoor event venues will operate at 33 percent. Social distancing, masks, and other applicable health protocols will still apply, including the requirement of attendee proof of full vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test result.

Industry Reopening Requirements

While most industry capacity restrictions will be lifted, industry-specific requirements will remain in effect for a longer period of time, including state or local health authority event notification, health screening, contact information for tracing, enhanced air handling and building system standards, hand hygiene, and environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols. The State will continue to provide additional guidance on these provisions as they apply to each industry.

Today’s announcement builds on Governor Cuomo’s recent measures to further reopen the economy amid a steady decline in New York’s COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates. On April 30, Governor Cuomo announced that New York City indoor dining will expand to 75 percent capacity beginning May 7, bringing New York City in line with the rest of New York. The Governor also announced that hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services will expand to 75 percent capacity beginning May 7. New York City gyms and fitness centers will expand to 50 percent capacity beginning May 15. On April 28, Governor Cuomo announced that the food and beverage service, and catered event, curfews would end this month.

Connecticut Previously Announced:

  • Starting May 1: The elimination of outdoor restrictions including limits on table sizes, and the requirement that food be served with alcohol
  • Starting May 19: The elimination of all remaining business restrictions including those on capacity limits at large event venues in the state
     

In addition, Governor Cuomo announced that the New York City Subway will resume 24 hour a day service beginning May 17. In April, MTA New York City Transit officials announced 2,009,025 trips were recorded on the subway on April 8, the first time that more than two million trips were taken on the subway since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. The MTA will continue its unprecedented disinfection and cleaning effort. More than 75 percent of MTA customers agree the subway has never been cleaner. The resumption of 24-hour service will coincide with the Governor’s announcement lifting the 12 a.m. food and beverage service curfew for outdoor dining areas.

President Biden Tells Nation ‘We have stared into the abyss of insurrection and autocracy, pandemic and pain, and “We the People” did not flinch’

President Biden, putting the Reagan canard to pasture, tells nation in his State of the Union Address: “It’s time to remember that ‘We the People’ are the government — you and I.  Not some force in a distant capital.  Not some powerful force that we have no control over.  It’s us.  It’s ‘We the People’… ‘We have stared into the abyss of insurrection and autocracy, pandemic and pain, and ‘We the People’ did not flinch.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc

Here is a highlighted transcript of President Joe Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress, April 28, 2021:

9:06 P.M. EDT
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  Good to be back.  And Mitch and Chuck will understand it’s good to be almost home, down the hall.  Anyway, thank you all.
 
Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President — (applause) — no President has ever said those words from this podium.  No President has ever said those words, and it’s about time.  (Applause.)
 
First Lady — (applause) — I’m her husband; Second Gentleman; Chief Justice; members of the United States Congress and the Cabinet; distinguished guests; my fellow Americans: While the setting tonight is familiar, this gathering is just a little bit different — a reminder of the extraordinary times we’re in.
 
Throughout our history, Presidents have come to this chamber to speak to Congress, to the nation, and to the world to declare war, to celebrate peace, to announce new plans and possibilities.
 
Tonight, I come to talk about crisis and opportunity, about rebuilding the nation, revitalizing our democracy, and winning the future for America.
 
I stand here tonight, one day shy of the 100th day
of my administration — 100 days since I took the oath of office and lifted my hand off our family Bible and inherited a nation — we all did — that was in crisis.
 
The worst pandemic in a century.  The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.
 
Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again — (applause) — turning peril into possibility, crisis to opportunity, setbacks into strength.
 
We all know life can knock us down.  But in America, we never, ever, ever stay down.  Americans always get up.  Today, that’s what we’re doing: America is rising anew, choosing hope over fear, truth over lies, and light over darkness.
 
After 100 days of rescue and renewal, America is ready for takeoff, in my view.  We’re working again, dreaming again, discovering again, and leading the world again.
 
We have shown each other and the world that there’s no quit in America — none.
 
One hundred days ago, America’s house was on fire.  We had to act.  And thanks to the extraordinary leadership of Speaker Pelosi; Majority Leader Schumer; and the overwhelming support of the American people — Democrats, independents, and Republicans — we did act.
 
Together we passed the American Rescue Plan — one of the most consequential rescue packages in American history.  We’re already seeing the results.  (Applause.)   We’re already seeing the results. 
 
After I promised we’d get 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots into people’s arms in 100 days, we will have provided over 220 million COVID shots in those 100 days.  (Applause.)
 
Thanks to all the help of all of you, we’re marshalling — with your help, everyone’s help — we’re marshalling every federal resource.  We’ve gotten vaccines to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 Community Health Centers where the poorest of the poor can be reached.  We’re setting up community vaccination sites, developing mobile units to get to hard-to-reach communities.
 
Today, 90 percent of Americans now live within five miles of a vaccination site.  Everyone over the age of 16 – everyone is now eligible to get vaccinated right now, right away.  (Applause.)  Go get vaccinated, America.  Go and get the vaccination.  They’re available.  You’re eligible now.
 
When I was sworn in on January 20th, less than 1 percent of the seniors in America were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  One hundred days later, 70 percent of seniors in America over 65 are protected — fully protected.  
 
Senior deaths from COVID-19 are down 80 percent since January — down 80 percent because of all of you.  And more than half of all the adults in America have gotten at least one shot.
 
At a mass vaccination center in Glendale, Arizona, I asked a nurse — I said, “What’s it like?”  She looked at me and she said, “It’s like every shot is giving a dose of hope” — was the phrase.  “A dose of hope.”
 
A dose of hope for an educator in Florida who has a child suffering from an autoimmune disease — wrote to me, said she’s worried — that she was worrying about bringing the virus home.  She said she then got vaccinated at a — at a large site, in her car.  She said she sat in her car, when she got vaccinated, and just cried — cried out of joy and cried out of relief.
 
Parents see the smiles on their kids’ faces, for those who are able to go back to school because the teachers and school bus drivers and cafeteria workers have been vaccinated.
 
Grandparents hugging their children and grandchildren instead of pressing hands against a window to say goodbye.
 
It means everything.  Those things mean everything.
 
You know, there’s still — you all know it; you know it better than any group of Americans — there’s still more work to do to beat this virus.  We can’t let our guard down.
 
But tonight I can say it: Because of you, the American people, our progress these past 100 days against one of the worst pandemics in history has been one of the greatest logistical achievements — logistical achievements this country has ever seen.
 
What else have we done in those first 100 days?
 
We kept our commitment — Democrats and Republicans — of sending $1,400 rescue checks to 85 percent of American households.  We’ve already sent more than one — 160 million checks out the door.  It’s making the difference.  You all know it when you go home.  For many people, it’s making all the difference in the world.
 
A single mom in Texas who wrote to me, she said she couldn’t work, but she said the relief check put food on the table and saved her and her son from eviction from their apartment.
 
A grandmother in Virginia who told me she immediately took her granddaughter to the eye doctor — something she said she put off for months because she didn’t have the money. 
 
One of the defining images, at least from my perspective, of this crisis has been cars lined up — cars lined up for miles.  And not — not people who just barely ever start those cars — nice cars lined up for miles, waiting for a box of food to be put in their trunk.
 
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t ever think I’d see that in America.  And all of this is through no fault of their own.  No fault of their own these people are in this position.
 
That’s why the Rescue Plan is delivering food and nutrition assistance to millions of Americans facing hunger, and hunger is down sharply already. 
 
We’re also providing rental assistance — you all know this, but the American people, I want to make sure they understand — keeping people from being evicted from their homes, providing loans to small businesses to reopen and keep their employees on the job.
 
During these 100 days, an additional 800,000 Americans enrolled in the Affordable Care Act when I established the special sign-up period to do that — 800,000 in that period.
 
We’re making one of the largest one-time ever investments — ever — in improving healthcare for veterans.  Critical investments to address the opioid crisis.  And, maybe most importantly, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we’re on track to cut child poverty in America in half this year.  (Applause.)
 
      [Notably, the Republicans kept their seats and silence.]

And in the process, while this was all going on, the economy created more than 1,300,000 new jobs in 100 days — more jobs in the first — (applause) — more jobs in the first 100 days than any President on record.
 
The International Monetary Fund — (applause) — the International Monetary Fund is now estimating our economy will grow at a rate of more than 6 percent this year.  That will be the fastest pace of economic growth in this country in nearly four decades.
 
America is moving — moving forward — but we can’t stop now.  We’re in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st Century.  We’re at a great inflection point in history.
 
We have to do more than just build back better — I mean “build back.”  We have to build back better.  We have to compete more strenuously than we have.
 
Throughout our history, if you think about it, public investment and infrastructure has literally transformed America — our attitudes, as well as our opportunities.
 
The transcontinental railroad, the interstate highways united two oceans and brought a totally new age of progress to the United States of America.
 
Universal public schools and college aid
opened wide the doors of opportunity.
 
Scientific breakthroughs took us to the Moon — now we’re on Mars; discovering vaccines; gave us the Internet and so much more.
 
These are the investments we made together as one country, and investments that only the government was in a position to make.  Time and again, they propel us into the future.
 
That’s why I proposed the American Jobs Plan — a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself.  This is the largest jobs plan since World War Two.
 
It creates jobs to upgrade our transportation infrastructure; jobs modernizing our roads, bridges, highways; jobs building ports and airports, rail corridors, transit lines. 
 
It’s clean water.  And, today, up to 10 million homes in America and more than 400,000 schools and childcare centers have pipes with lead in them, including in drinking water — a clear and present danger to our children’s health.
 
The American Jobs Plan creates jobs replacing 100 percent of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines so every American can drink clean water.  (Applause.)
 
And in the process, it will create thousands and thousands of good-paying jobs.  It creates jobs connecting every American with high-speed Internet, including 35 percent of the rural America that still doesn’t have it.
 
This is going to help our kids and our businesses succeed in the 21st-century economy.
 
And I am asking the Vice President to lead this effort, if she would —
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Of course.
 
THE PRESIDENT:  — because I know it will get done.  (Applause.)
 
It creates jobs, building a modern power grid.  Our grids are vulnerable to storms, hacks, catastrophic failures — with tragic results, as we saw in Texas and elsewhere during the winter storms.
 
The American Jobs Plan will create jobs that will lay thousands of miles of transmission lines needed to build a resilient and fully clean grid.  We can do that.  (Applause.)
 
Look, the American Jobs Plan will help millions of people get back to their jobs and back to their careers.
 
Two million women have dropped out of the workforce during this pandemic — two million.  And too often because they couldn’t get the care they needed to care for their child or care for an elderly parent who needs help.
 
Eight hundred thousand families are on a Medicare waiting list right now to get homecare for their aging parent or loved one with a disability.  If you think it’s not important, check out in your own district.
 
Democrat or Republican — Democrat or Republican voters, their great concern — almost as much as their children — is taking care of an elderly loved one who can’t be left alone.  Medicaid contemplated it, but this plan is going to help those families and create jobs for our caregivers with better wages and better benefits, continuing a cycle of growth.
 
For too long, we’ve failed to use the most important word when it comes to meeting the climate crisis: “jobs.”  Jobs.  Jobs.  (Applause.) 
 
For me, when I think “climate change,” I think “jobs.”
 
The American Jobs Plan will put engineers and construction workers to work building more energy-efficient buildings and homes.  Electrical workers — IBEW members — installing 500,000 charging stations along our highways so we can own — (applause) — so we can own the electric car market.  (Applause.)
 
Farmers — farmers planting cover crops so they can reduce the carbon dioxide in the air and get paid for doing it.  (Applause.)
 
Look, but think about it: There is simply no reason why the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing.  No reason.  None.  No reason.  (Applause.)
 
So, folks, there’s no reason why American — American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.  I mean, there is no reason.  We have this capacity.  (Applause.)  We have the brightest, best-trained people in the world.
 
The American Jobs Plan is going to create millions of good-paying jobs — jobs Americans can raise a family on — as my dad would then say, “with a little breathing room.”
 
And all the investments in the American Jobs Plan will be guided by one principle: Buy American.  (Applause.)  Buy American.
 
And I might note, parenthetically — (applause) — that does not — that does not violate any trade agreement.  It’s been the law since the ’30s: Buy American. 
 
American tax dollars are going to be used to buy American products made in America to create American jobs.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be and it will be in this administration.  (Applause.)
 
And I made it clear to all my Cabinet people.  Their ability to give exemptions has been strenuously limited.  It will be American products.
 
Now I know some of you at home are wondering whether these jobs are for you.  So many of you — so many of the folks I grew up with feel left behind, forgotten in an economy that’s so rapidly changing.  It’s frightening. 
 
I want to speak directly to you.  Because if you think about it, that’s what people are most worried about: “Can I fit in?”
 
Independent experts estimate the American Jobs Plan will add millions of jobs and trillions of dollars to economic growth in the years to come.  It is an eight-year program.  These are good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced.
 
Nearly 90 percent of the infrastructure jobs created in the American Jobs Plan do not require a college degree; 75 percent don’t require an associate’s degree.
 
The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America.  That’s what it is.  (Applause.)
 
And it recognizes something I’ve always said in this chamber and the other.  Good guys and women on Wall Street, but Wall Street didn’t build this country.  The middle class built the country, and unions built the middle class.  (Applause.)
 
So that’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass the Protect the Right to Organize Act — the PRO Act — and send it to my desk so we can support the right to unionize.  (Applause.)
 
And, by the way, while you’re thinking about sending things to my desk — (laughs) — let’s raise the minimum wage to $15.  (Applause.)
 
No one — no one working 40 hours a week — no one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line.
 
We need to ensure greater equity and opportunity for women.  And while we’re doing this, let’s get the Paycheck Fairness Act to my desk as well — equal pay.  It’s been much too long.  And if you’re wondering whether it’s too long, look behind me.  (Applause.)
 
And finally, the American Jobs Plan will be the biggest increase in nondefense research and development on record.  We will see more technological change — and some of you know more about this than I do — we’ll see more technological change in the next 10 years than we saw in the last 50.  That’s how rapidly artificial intelligence and so much more is changing.
 
And we’re falling behind the competition with the rest of the world.
 
Decades ago, we used to invest 2 percent of our gross domestic product in America — 2 percent of our gross domestic product — in research and development. 
 
Today, Mr. Secretary, that’s less than 1 percent. 
China and other countries are closing in fast.  We have to develop and dominate the products and technologies of the future:advanced batteries, biotechnology, computer chips, clean energy.
 
The Secretary of Defense can tell you — and those of you on — who work on national security issues know — the Defense Department has an agency called DARPA — the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency.  The people who set up before I came here — and that’s been a long time ago — to develop breakthroughs that enhance our national security -– that’s their only job.  And it’s a semi-separate agency; it’s under the Defense Department.  It’s led to everything from the discovery of the Internet to GPS and so much more that has enhanced our security.
 
The National Institute of Health — the NIH –- I believe, should create a similar Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health.  (Applause.)
 
And that would — here’s what it would do.  It would have a singular purpose: to develop breakthroughs to prevent, detect, and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer.
 
I’ll still never forget when we passed the cancer proposal the last year I was Vice President — almost $9 million going to NIH.  And if you excuse the point of personal privilege, I’ll never forget you standing and mentioning — saying you’d name it after my deceased son.  It meant a lot.
 
But so many of us have deceased sons, daughters, and relatives who died of cancer.  I can think of no more worthy investment.  I know of nothing that is more bipartisan.  So, let’s end cancer as we know it.  (Applause.)  It’s within our power.  (Applause.)  It’s within our power to do it.  (Applause.)
 
Investments in jobs and infrastructure, like the ones we’re talking about, have often had bipartisan support in the past.  Vice President Harris and I met regularly in the Oval Office with Democrats and Republicans to discuss the Jobs Plan.  And I applaud a group of Republican senators who just put forward their own proposal.
 
So, let’s get to work.  I wanted to lay out, before the Congress, my plan before we got into the deep discussions.  I’d like to meet with those who have ideas that are different — they think are better.  I welcome those ideas. 
 
But the rest of the world is not waiting for us.  I just want to be clear: From my perspective, doing nothing is not an option.  (Applause.)
 
Look, we can’t be so busy competing with one another that we forget the competition that we have with the rest of the world to win the 21st century.
 
Secretary Blinken can tell you, I spent a lot of time with President Xi — traveled over 17,000 miles with him; spent, they tell me, over 24 hours in private discussions with him.  When he called to congratulate me, we had a two-hour discussion.  He’s deadly earnest about becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world.  He and others — autocrats — think that democracy can’t compete in the 21st century with autocracies because it takes too long to get consensus. 
 
To win that competition for the future, in my view, we also need to make a once-in-a-generation investment in our families and our children.  That’s why I’ve introduced the American Families Plan tonight, which addresses four of the biggest challenges facing American families and, in turn, America.
 
First is access to a good education.  When this nation made 12 years of public education universal in the last century, it made us the best-educated, best-prepared nation in the world.  It’s, I believe, the overwhelming reason that propelled us to where we got in the 21st — in the 20th century. 
 
But the world has caught up, or catching up.  They are not waiting.  I would say, parenthetically: If we were sitting down, put a bipartisan committee together and said, “Okay, we’re going to decide what we do in terms of government providing for free education,” I wonder whether we’d think, as we did in the 20th century, that 12 years is enough in the 21st century.  I doubt it.  Twelve years is no longer enough today to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st Century.
 
That’s why my American Families Plan guarantees four additional years of public education for every person in America, starting as early as we can.
 
The great universities of this country have conducted studies over the last 10 years.  It shows that adding two years of universal high-quality preschool for every three-year-old and four-year-old, no matter what background they come from, it puts them in the position to be able to compete all the way through 12 years.  It increases exponentially their prospect of graduating and going on beyond graduation.
 
The research shows when a young child goes to school — not daycare — they are far more likely to graduate from high school and go to college or something after high school.
 
When you add two years of free community college on top of that, you begin to change the dynamic.  (Applause.)  We can do that.  (Applause.) 
 
And we’ll increase Pell Grants and invest in Historical Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, Minority-Serving Institutions.  The reason is: They don’t have the endowments, but their students are just as capable of learning about cybersecurity, just as capable of learning about metallurgy — all the things that are going on that provide those jobs of the future.
 
Jill was  a community college professor who teaches today as First Lady.  She has long said — (applause).  She has long — (applause).  If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “Joe, any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us.”  She’ll be deeply involved in leading this effort.  Thank you, Jill.
 
Second thing we need: American Families Plan will provide access to quality, affordable childcare.  We guarantee — (applause).  And I’m proposing a legislation to guarantee that low- and middle-income families will pay no more than 7 percent of their income for high-quality care for children up to the age of 5.  The most hard-pressed working families won’t have to spend a dime.
 
Third, the American Families Plan will finally provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave  and medical leave — family and medical leave.  We’re one of the few industrial countries in the world — (applause). 
 
No one should have to choose between a job and paycheck or taking care of themselves and their loved ones –- a parent, a spouse, or child.
 
And fourth, the American Family Plan puts directly into the pockets of millions of Americans.  In March, we expanded a tax credit for every child in a family.  Up to a $3,000 per child, if they’re under six years of age — I mean, excuse me — under six years of age, and $3,600 for children over six years of age.
 
With two parents, two kids, that’s $7,200 in the pockets that’s going to help to take care of your family.  And that will help more than 65 million children and help cut [child] poverty in half.  (Applause.)  And we can afford it. 
 
So we did that in the last piece of legislation we passed. But let’s extend that Child Care Tax Credit at least through the end of 2025.  (Applause.)  
 
The American Rescue Plan lowered healthcare premiums for 9 million Americans who buy their coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  I know that’s really popular on this side of the aisle.  (Laughter.)  But let’s make that provision permanent so their premiums don’t go back up.  (Applause.)  
 
In addition to my Families Plan, I’m going to work with Congress to address, this year, other critical priorities for American families. 
 
The Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for millions of Americans, protecting people with preexisting conditions, protecting women’s health.  And the pandemic has demonstrated how badly — how badly it’s needed.  Let’s lower deductibles for working families on the Affordable Care — in the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)  And let’s lower prescription drug costs.  (Applause.) 
 
We know how to do this.  The last President had that as an objective.  We all know how outrageously expensive drugs are in America. 
 
In fact, we pay the highest prescription drug prices of anywhere in the world right here in America — nearly three times — for the same drug, nearly three times what other countries pay.  We have to change that, and we can. 
 
Let’s do what we’ve always talked about for all the years I was down here in this — in this body — in Congress.  Let’s give Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower drug prescription prices.  (Applause.)
 
And, by the way, that won’t just — that won’t just help people on Medicare; it will lower prescription drug costs for everyone. 
 
And the money we save, which is billions of dollars, can go to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and expand Medicare coverage benefits without costing taxpayers an additional penny.  It’s within our power to do it; let’s do it now.  (Applause.)
 
We’ve talked about it long enough.  Democrats and Republicans, let’s get it done this year.  This is all about a simple premise: Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege in America.  (Applause.) 
 
So, how do we pay for my Jobs and Family Plan?  I made it clear, we can do it without increasing the deficits.  Let’s start with what I will not do: I will not impose any tax increase on people making less than $400,000.  It’s — but it’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to just begin to pay their fair share.  (Applause.)  Just their fair share. 
 
Sometimes I have arguments with my friends in the Democratic Party.  I think you should be able to become a billionaire and a millionaire, but pay your fair share.
 
A recent study shows that 55 of the nation’s biggest corporations paid zero federal tax last year.  Those 55 corporations made in excess of $40 billion in profit.  A lot of companies also evade taxes through tax havens in Switzerland and Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.  And they benefit from tax loopholes and deductions for offshoring jobs and shifting profits overseas.  It’s not right. 
 
We’re going to reform corporate taxes so they pay their fair share and help pay for the public investments their businesses will benefit from as well.  (Applause.)
 
We’re going to reward work, not just wealth.  We take the top tax bracket for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans — those making over $400,000 or more — back up to where it was when George W. Bush was President when he started: 39.6 percent.  That’s where it was when George W. was President. 
 
We’re going to get rid of the loopholes that allow Americans who make more than a million dollars a year and pay a lower tax rate on their capital gains than Americans who receive a paycheck.   We’re only going to affect three tenths of 1 percent of all Americans by that action.  Three tenths of 1 percent. 
 
And the IRS is going to crack down on millionaires and billionaires who cheat on their taxes.  It’s estimated to be billions of dollars by think tanks that are left, right, and center. 
 
I’m not looking to punish anybody.  But I will not add a tax burden — an additional tax burden to the middle class in this country.  They’re already paying enough.  I believe what I propose is fair — (applause) — fiscally responsible, and it raises revenue to pay for the plans I have proposed, and will create millions of jobs that will grow the economy and enhance our financial standing in the country.
 
When you hear someone say that they don’t want to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent or corporate America, ask them: “Whose taxes you want to raise instead?  Whose are you going to cut?” 
 
Look, the big tax cut of 2017 — remember, it was supposed to pay for itself — that was how it was sold — and generate vast economic growth.  Instead, it added $2 trillion to the deficit.  It was a huge windfall for corporate America and those at the very top.  
 
Instead of using the tax saving to raise wages and invest in research and development, it poured billions of dollars into the pockets of CEOs.  In fact, the pay gap between CEOs and their workers is now among the largest in history. 
 
According to one study, CEOs make 320 times what the average worker in their corporation makes.  It used to be in the — below a hundred. 
 
The pandemic has only made things worse.  Twenty million Americans lost their job in the pandemic — working- and middle-class Americans.  At the same time, roughly 650 billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 trillion — in the same exact period.  Let me say it again: 650 people increased their wealth by more than $1 trillion during this pandemic.  And they’re now worth more than $4 trillion. 
 
My fellow Americans, trickle-down — trickle-down economics has never worked and it’s time to grow the economy from the bottom and the middle out. (Applause.) 
 
You know, there’s a broad consensus of economists — left, right, center — and they agree what I’m proposing will help create millions of jobs and generate historic economic growth.  These are among the highest-value investments we can make as a nation. 
 
I’ve often said: Our greatest strength is the power of our example, not just the example of our power.  
 
In my conversations with world leaders — and I’ve spoken to over 38, 40 of them now — I’ve made it known — I’ve made it known that America is back.  And you know what they say?  The comment that I hear most of all from them is they say, “We see America is back but for how long?  But for how long?”
 
My fellow Americans, we have to show not just that we’re back, but that we’re back to stay and that we aren’t going to go it alone.  (Applause.)  We’re going to do it by leading with our allies.  (Applause.)   
 
No one nation can deal with all the crises of our timefrom terrorism, to nuclear proliferation, mass migration, cybersecurity, climate change, as well as experi- — what we’re experiencing now with pandemics. 
 
There’s no wall high enough to keep any virus out.  And our own vaccine supply — as it grows to meet our needs; and we’re meeting them — will become an arsenal of vaccines for other countries, just as America was the arsenal of democracy for the world — (applause) — and in consequence, influenced the world.  (Applause.)  
 
But every American will have access before that occur- — every American will have access to be fully covered by COVID-19 — from the vaccines we have.
 
Look, the climate crisis is not our fight alone; it’s a global fight.  The United States accounts, as all of you know, less than 15 percent of carbon emissions.  The rest of the world accounts for 85 percent.  That’s why I kept my commitment to rejoin the Paris Accord — because if we do everything perfectly, it’s not going to ultimately matter.
 
I kept my commitment to convene a climate summit right here in America with all of the major economies of the world — China, Russia, India, the European Union — and I said I’d do it in my first 100 days.
 
I want to be very blunt about it: I had — my attempt was to make sure that the world could see there was a consensus, that we are at an inflection point in history.  And consensus — the consensus is: If we act to save the planet, we can create millions of jobs and economic growth and opportunity to raise the standard of living to almost everyone around the world.
 
If you’ve watched any of it — and you were all busy; I’m sure you didn’t have much time — that’s what virtually every nation said, even the ones that aren’t doing their fair share.
 
The investments I’ve proposed tonight also advance the foreign policy, in my view, that benefits the middle class.  That means making sure every nation plays by the same rules in the global economy, including China.
 
In my discussions — in my discussions with President Xi, I told him, “We welcome the competition.  We’re not looking for conflict.”  But I made absolutely clear that we will defend America’s interests across the board.  America will stand up to unfair trade practices that undercut American workers and American industries, like subsidies from state — to state-owned operations and enterprises and the theft of American technology and intellectual property.
 
I also told President Xi that we’ll maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific, just as we do with NATO in Europe — not to start a conflict, but to prevent one.  (Applause.) 
 
I told him what I’ve said to many world leaders: that America will not back away from our commitments — our commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms and to our alliances.
 
And I pointed out to him: No responsible American President could remain silent when basic human rights are being so blatantly violated.  An American President — President has to represent the essence of what our country stands for.  America is an idea — the most unique idea in history: We are created, all of us, equal.  It’s who we are, and we cannot walk away from that principle and, in fact, say we’re dealing with the American idea.
 
With regard to Russia, I know it concerns some of you, but I made very clear to Putin that we’re not going to seek escalation, but their actions will have consequence if they turn out to be true.  And they turned out to be true, so I responded directly and proportionally to Russia’s interference in our elections and the cyberattacks on our government and our business.  They did both of these things, and I told them we would respond, and we have.
 
But we can also cooperate when it’s in our mutual interest.  We did it when we extended the New START Treaty on nuclear arms, and we’re working to do it on climate change.  But he understands we will respond.
 
On Iran and North Korea — nuclear programs that present serious threats to American security and the security of the world — we’re going to be working closely with our allies to address the threats posed by both of these countries through diplomacy, as well as stern deterrence.
 
And American leadership means ending the forever war in Afghanistan.  (Applause.)  We have — (applause) — we have, without hyperbole, the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.  I’m the first President in 40 years who knows what it means to have a son serving in a warzone. 
 
Today we have servicemembers serving in the same warzone as their parents did.  We have servicemembers in Afghanistan who were not yet born on 9/11.
 
The War in Afghanistan, as we remember the debates here, were never meant to be multi-generational undertakings of nation-building.  We went to Afghanistan to get terrorists — the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 — and we said we would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell to do it.  If you’ve been to the upper Kunar Valley, you’ve kind of seen the gates of hell.  And we delivered justice to bin Laden.  We degraded the terrorist threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan.  And after 20 years of value — valor and sacrifice, it’s time to bring those troops home.  (Applause.) 
 
Look, even as we do, we will maintain an over-the-horizon capacity to suppress future threats to the homeland.  And make no mistake: In 20 years, terrorists has — terrorism has metastasized.  The threat has evolved way beyond Afghanistan.  And those of you in the intelligence committees, the foreign relations committee, the defense committees, you know well: We have to remain vigilant against the threats to the United States wherever they come from.  Al Qaeda and ISIS are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, other places in Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. 
 
And we won’t ignore what our intelligence agencies have determined to be the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today: White supremacy is terrorism.  We’re not going to ignore that either.
 
My fellow Americans, look, we have to come together to heal the soul of this nation.  It was nearly a year ago, before her father’s funeral, when I spoke with Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s young daughter.  She’s a little tyke, so I was kneeling down to talk to her so I could look her in the eye.  And she looked at me and she said, “My daddy changed the world.”  Well, after the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer, we can see how right she was if — if we have the courage to act as a Congress. 
 
We’ve all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black Americans.  Now is our opportunity to make some real progress.  The vast majority of men and women wearing the uniform and a badge serve our communities, and they serve them honorably.  I know them.  I know they want — (applause) — I know they want to help meet this moment as well.
 
My fellow Americans, we have to come together to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve, to root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system, and to enact police reform in George Floyd’s name that passed the House already. 
 
I know Republicans have their own ideas and are engaged in the very productive discussions with Democrats in the Senate.  We need to work together to find a consensus.  But let’s get it done next month, by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death.  (Applause.) 
 
The country supports this reform, and Congress should act — should act.  We have a giant opportunity to bend to the arc of the moral universe towards justice — real justice.  And with the plans outlined tonight, we have a real chance to root out systemic racism that plagues America and American lives in other ways; a chance to deliver real equity — good jobs, good schools, affordable housing, clean air, clean water, being able to generate wealth and pass it down two generations because you have an access to purchase a house.  Real opportunities in the lives of more Americans — Black, white, Latino, Asian Americans, Native Americans.
 
Look, I also want to thank the United States Senate for voting 94 to 1 to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to protect Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  (Applause.)  You acted decisively.  (Applause.)  And you can see on television the viciousness of the hate crimes we’ve seen over the past year — this past year and for too long.  I urge the House to do the same and send that legislation to my desk, which I will gladly, anxiously sign.
 
I also hope Congress can get to my desk the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ Americans.  (Applause.)  To all transgender Americans watching at home, especially young people who are so brave, I want you to know your President has your back.
 
Another thing: Let’s authorize the Violence Against Women Act, which has been law for 27 years.  (Applause.)  Twenty-seven years ago, I wrote it.  It’ll close the — the act that has to be authorized now will close the “boyfriend” loophole to keep guns out of the hands of abusers.  The court order said, “This is an abuser.  You can’t own a gun.”  It’s to close that loophole that existed. 
 
You know, it’s estimated that 50 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner every month in America — 50 a month.  Let’s pass it and save some lives.  (Applause.)
    
And I need not — I need not tell anyone this, but gun violence is becoming an epidemic in America.
 
The flag at the White House was still flying at half-mast for the 8 victims in the mass shooting in Georgia when 10 more lives were taken in a mass shooting in Colorado.
 
And in the week in between those two events, 250 other Americans were shot dead in the streets of America — 250 shot dead.
 
I know how hard it is to make progress on this issue.  In the ’90s, we passed universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that hold 100 rounds that can be fired off in seconds.  We beat the NRA.  Mass shootings and gun violence declined.  Check out the report in over 10 years.  But in the early twe- — 2000s, the law expired, and we’ve seen daily bloodshed since.  I’m not saying if the law continued, we wouldn’t see bloodshed.  
 
More than two weeks ago in the Rose Garden, surrounded by some of the bravest people I know — the survivors and families who lost loved ones to gun violence — I laid out several of the Department of Justice a- — actions that are being taken to — impact on this epidemic. 
 
One of them is banning so-called “ghost guns.”  These are homemade guns built from a kit that includes directions on how to finish the firearm.  The parts have no serial numbers, so they show up at crime scenes and they can’t be traced.  The buyers of these ghost gun kits aren’t required to pass any background check.  Anyone, from a criminal or terrorist, could buy this kit and within 30 minutes have a weapon that’s lethal.  But no more.
 
And I will do everything in my power to protect the American people from this epidemic of gun violence, but it’s time for Congress to act as well.  (Applause.)
 
Look, I don’t want to become confrontational but we need more Senate Republicans to join the overwhelming majority of Democrat colleagues and close the loopholes requiring a background check on purchases of guns.  We need a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  And don’t tell me it can’t be done.  We did it before, and it worked.
 
Talk to most responsible gun owners and hunters. They’ll tell you there’s no possible justification for having 100 rounds in a weapon.  What do you think — deer are wearing Kevlar vests?  (Laughter.)  They’ll tell you that there are too many people today who are able to buy a gun but shouldn’t be able to buy a gun.
 
These kinds of reasonable reforms have overwhelming support from the American people, including many gun owners.  The country supports reform and is — and Congress should act.
 
This shouldn’t be a red or blue issue.  And no amendment to the Constitution is absolute.  You can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater.  From the very beginning, there were certain guns, weapons, that could not be owned by Americans.  Certain people could not own those weapons ever. 
 
We’re not changing the Constitution; we’re being reasonable.  I think this is not a Democrat or Republican issue; I think it’s an American issue.
 
And here’s what else we can do: Immigration has always been essential to America.  Let’s end our exhausting war over immigration.  For more than 30 years, politicians have talked about immigration reform, and we’ve done nothing about it.  It’s time to fix it.
 
On day one of my presidency, I kept my commitment and sent a comprehensive immigration bill to the United States Congress.  If you believe we need to secure the border, pass it, because it has a lot of money for high-tech border security.  If you believe in a pathway to citizenship, pass it so over 11 million undocumented folks — the vast majority are here overstaying visas.  Pass it.  We can actually — if you actually want to solve a problem, I’ve sent a bill to take a close look at it. 
 
We have to — also have to get at the root problem of why people are fleeing, particularly to — to our southern border from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador: the violence, the corruption, the gangs, and the political instability, hunger, hurricanes, earthquakes, natural disasters.
 
 
When I was President, my President — when I was Vice President, the President asked me to focus on providing the help needed to address the root causes of migration.  And it helped keep people in their own countries instead of being forced to leave.  The plan was working, but the last administration decided it was not worth it.
 
I’m restoring the program and asked Vice President Harris to lead our diplomatic effort to take care of this.  I have absolute confidence she’ll get the job done.  (Applause.)
 
Now, look, if you don’t like my plan, let’s at least pass what we all agree on.  Congress needs to pass legislation this year to finally secure protection for DREAMers — the young people who have only known America as their home.  (Applause.) 
 
And permanent protection for immigrants who are here on temporary protected status who came from countries beset by manmade and natural-made violence and disaster.  (Applause.)
 
As well as a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers who put food on our tables.  (Applause.) 
 
Look, immigrants have done so much for America during this pandemic and throughout our history.  The country supports immigration reform.  We should act.  Let’s argue over it, let’s debate it, but let’s act.  (Applause.)
 
And if we truly want to restore the soul of America, we need to protect the sacred right to vote.  Most people — (applause).  
 
More people voted in the last presidential election than any time in American history, in the middle of the worst pandemic ever.  It should be celebrated.  Instead, it’s being attacked.
 
Congress should pass H.R. 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and send it to my desk right away.
  (Applause.)  The country supports it.  The Congress should act now.  (Applause.)
 
Look, in closing, as we gather here tonight, the images of a violent mob assaulting this Capitol, desecrating our democracy, remain vivid in all our minds.
 
Lives were put at risk — many of your lives.  Lives were lost.  Extraordinary courage was summoned.  The insurrection was an existential crisis –- a test of whether our democracy could survive.  And it did.
 
But the struggle is far from over.  The question of whether our democracy will long endure is both ancient and urgent, as old as our Republic — still vital today. 
 
Can our democracy deliver on its promise that all of us, created equal in the image of God, have a chance to lead lives of dignity, respect, and possibility?
 
Can our democracy deliver the most — to the most pressing needs of our people? 
 
Can our democracy overcome the lies, anger, hate, and fears that have pulled us apart?
 
America’s adversaries –- the autocrats of the world –- are betting we can’t.  And I promise you, they’re betting we can’t.  They believe we’re too full of anger and division and rage.
 
They look at the images of the mob that assaulted the Capitol as proof that the sun is setting on American democracy.  But they are wrong.  You know it; I know it.  But we have to prove them wrong.
 
We have to prove democracy still works — that our government still works and we can deliver for our people.
 
In our first 100 days together, we have acted to restore the people’s faith in democracy to deliver.  We’re vaccinating the nation.  We’re creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.  We’re delivering real results to people; they can see it and feel it in their own lives.
 
Opening doors of opportunity, guaranteeing some more fairness and justice — that’s the essence of America.  That’s democracy in action.
 
Our Constitution opens with the words — as trite as it sounds — “We the People”.  Well, it’s time to remember that “We the People” are the government — you and I.  Not some force in a distant capital.  Not some powerful force that we have no control over.  It’s us.  It’s “We the People.”
 
In another era when our democracy was tested, Franklin Roosevelt reminded us, “In America, we do our part.”  We all do our part.  That’s all I’m asking: that we do our part, all of us.
 
If we do that, we will meet the center challenge of the age by proving that democracy is durable and strong.  Autocrats will not win the future.  We will.  America will.  And the future belongs to America.
 
As I stand here tonight before you, in a new and vital hour of life and democracy of our nation, and I can say with absolute confidence: I have never been more confident or optimistic about America — not because I’m President, because what’s happening with the American people.
 
We have stared into the abyss of insurrection and autocracy, pandemic and pain, and “We the People” did not flinch.
 
At the very moment our adversaries were certain we would pull apart and fail, we came together.  We united.
 
With light and hope, we summoned a new strength, new resolve to position us to win the competition of the 21st century, on our way to a union more perfect, more prosperous, and more just, as one people, one nation, and one America.
 
Folks, as I told every world leader I’ve ever met with over the years, it’s never ever, ever been a good bet to bet against America, and it still isn’t.  (Applause.)
 
We are the United States of America.  (Applause.)  There is not a single thing — nothing — nothing beyond our capacity.  We can do whatever we set our mind to do if we do it together.  (Applause.)  So let’s begin to get together.  (Applause.)
 
God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.  Thank you for your patience.  (Applause.)
 
10:12 P.M. EDT
 

New York Expands Rapid Test Program to Help Economic Activities Reopen; Here’s Where to Go

COVID-19 testing site, Jones Beach, Long Island. New York State is expanding the Rapid Test Program to help businesses and events safely reopen, with 25 new sites open April 1 and 10 sites opening within the next two weeks for a total of 70 sites statewide. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

25 New Sites Open Thursday, April 1 with a Total of 70 Sites Statewide by Mid-April

New Sites Opening in New York City, Hudson Valley, Capital Region, Central New York, Western New York and on Long Island

Expansion Accompanies Reopening of Regional Sports Venues Beginning Thursday, April 1 and Event, Arts and Entertainment Venues Beginning Friday, April 2

Individuals Can Download Proof of their Negative COVID-19 Test Result on the State’s Excelsior Pass Here

Public-Private Partnership First Announced in Governor’s 2021 State of the State to Make Low-Cost Rapid Testing Available for Enhanced Economic Activity  

Learn More About New York Forward Rapid Test Program and Find a Test Site Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an expansion of the New York Forward Rapid Test Program to help businesses and events safely reopen, with 25 new sites open Thursday, April 1 and 10 sites opening within the next two weeks for a total of 70 sites statewide.

This unique public-private partnership — first announced in the Governor’s 2021 State of the State: Reimagine | Rebuild | Renew and launched in February — makes low-cost rapid testing available to the public to support enhanced economic activity as the State continues to reopen sectors of the economy. New Yorkers can find a test site and make an appointment here, and download proof of their negative test result on the State’s Excelsior Pass, which launched last month.  

“I have stressed many times that testing is a key part of reopening our economy and by expanding our New York Forward Rapid Test Program we can be even more confident in our metrics and tracing capabilities,” Governor Cuomo said. “These new rapid testing sites will be invaluable tools for communities and businesses because they will  provide an additional layer of protection as New Yorkers return to their economic activities.”    

Several of these sites will open nearby or at arenas, stadiums, and venues, complementing the State’s reopening guidance, which allows professional sports competitions with fans and other entertainment events to resume if all attendees present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test or immunization, as well as follow additional health and safety protocols, including social distancing, face coverings, and health screening.

The New York Forward Rapid Test Program aims to dramatically expand access to rapid testing to allow businesses, professional sports, and entertainment venues to more safely re-open. The network accompanies State guidance that increases capacity limits contingent upon attendee proof of a recent negative test or immunization, including professional sports competitions in major stadiums and arenas, which were permitted to resume on February 23; wedding receptions and catered events, which were permitted to resume on March 15; regional sports venues that hold 1,500 people indoors or 2,500 people outdoors, which are permitted to re-open beginning Thursday, April 1; and performing arts and entertainment venues, which are permitted to reopen beginning Friday, April 2.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-Designate Eric Gertler said, “The expansion of the New York Forward Rapid Testing Program comes as more and more New Yorkers become eligible for vaccines. We still have a responsibility to be cautious and observe all recommended health guidelines, as New York State continues to support businesses by providing the tools needed for a safe and sustainable reopening of the Empire State economy.”

Testing providers participating in the network must make rapid testing available for no more than $30, provide participants with their results within 30 minutes, offer a mechanism for people to schedule in advance and report the results to the State. To reduce the cost of testing for New Yorkers and expand the number of sites, the State is providing access to Abbott BinaxNow tests at cost to some providers and working with the Real Estate Board of New York, Business Improvement Districts and other partners across the state to identify vacant spaces in commercial centers that can be donated for the testing network.  
  
Individuals who are not experiencing COVID symptoms and that have not had a recent known exposure to COVID-19 may participate in this initiative by visiting participating locations and completing a questionnaire. Individuals must continue to comply with all New York Forward guidelines on reopening, including but not limited to the use of face coverings, social distancing, and other protocols.   

Testing at the new and existing sites will be operated by BioReference Laboratories, Clarity MedHealth, Quest Diagnostics and Rapid Reliable Testing. 

To find participating sites in this initiative and to make an appointment, visit the program website.  

The following new test locations will be open Thursday, April 1:

·         BioReference, 63 Columbia Street, Albany, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 373 Willis Avenue, Roslyn Heights, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 640 Franklin Ave, Valley Stream, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 480 Montauk Highway, Bay Shore, NY

·         BioReference, 3 Times Square, New York, NY

·         BioReference, Oculus; 185 Greenwich Street, Suite LL4330, New York, NY

·         BioReference, 11 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 2106 Ellsworth Boulevard, Malta, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 212 Station Plaza North, Mineola, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 265 Jericho Turnpike, Floral Park, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 165 North Village Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 222 Rockaway Turnpike, Cedarhurst, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 534 Montauk Highway, Center Moriches, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 889 Harrison Avenue, Riverhead, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 500 West Main Street, Suite 202, Babylon, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 695 Dutchess Turnpike, Poughkeepsie, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 30 Hatfield Lane, Goshen, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 978 Route 45 Ste 202, Pomona, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 970 North Broadway, Suite 205, Yonkers, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 224-226 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 101 Broadway, Suite 302, Brooklyn, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 137 East 36th Street, New York, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 268 3rd Avenue, New York, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 3014 37th Street, Astoria, NY

·         Rapid Reliable Testing, Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale, NY

The following new test locations will open within the next two weeks:

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 814 West Hempstead Avenue, West Hempstead, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 753 Fort Salonga Road, Northport, NY

·         BioReference, 555 5th Avenue, New York, NY

·         BioReference, Grand Central Station; 89 East 42nd Street, New York, NY

·         BioReference, 301 East 45th Street, New York, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, Shop City Plaza, 396 Grant Boulevard, Syracuse, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 418 3rd Street, Niagara Falls, NY

·         Rapid Reliable Testing, Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY

·         Rapid Reliable Testing, Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY

·         Rapid Reliable Testing, Citi Field, 41 Seaver Way, Queens, NY

The following open test locations were announced previously:

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 1916 Williamsbridge Road, Bronx, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 27 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 168 Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 532 Neptune Avenue, Unit 1, Brooklyn, NY

·         BioReference, 599 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY

·         BioReference, 6 West 52nd Street, New York, NY

·         BioReference, 1700 Broadway, New York, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 2182 Broadway, New York, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 475 6th Avenue, New York, NY

·         BioReference, 231 West 40th Street, New York, NY

·         BioReference, 205 West 34th Street, New York, NY

·         BioReference, 200 West 57th Street, Suite 604, New York, NY

·         BioReference, 352 7th Avenue, Suite 1204, New York, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 358 5th Avenue, New York, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 338 East 23rd Street, New York, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 275 Third Avenue, New York, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 30-97 Steinway Street, Astoria, NY

·         BioReference at CVS Pharmacy, 68-02 Myrtle Avenue, Glendale, NY

·         Clarity MedHealth, New York City Police Memorial, Liberty Street and South End Avenue, New York, NY

·         Clarity MedHealth, Irish Hunger Memorial, Vesey Street and North End Avenue, New York, NY

·         Clarity MedHealth, Pier A, 22 Battery Place, New York, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 2 Executive Park Drive, Albany, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 146 A Manettohill Road, Plainview, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 91 College Plaza, Selden, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 380 Washington Avenue, Kingston, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 1869A East Main Street, Beach Shopping Center, Peekskill, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 280 Dobbs Ferry Road, White Plains, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 2415A Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 331 West 57 Street, New York, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 115 East 57 Street, Suite 1530, New York, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 8229 153rd Avenue, Queens, NY

·         Quest Diagnostics, 98 John James Audubon Parkway Buffalo, NY

·         Rapid Reliable Testing, 5 Times Square, New York, NY

A negative test result does not completely rule out the possibility of COVID-19 infection or mean that an individual is not at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. However, the initiative’s screening and testing is another tool — in addition to the use of face coverings, social distancing, and other protocols — that can put New York businesses on track to reopen more safely at higher capacities. To learn more about the New York Forward Rapid Test Program and view the Department of Health (DOH) guidance, visit the program’s website.

All participating testing providers have committed to rapid reporting of COVID-19 test results to DOH’s electronic clinical laboratory reporting system (ECLRS, enabling integration with Excelsior Pass — a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with DOH guidelines.

New York has been at the forefront of developing testing capacity throughout the COVID-19 crisis, conducting more than 200,000 tests per day on average. Visit the Health Department’s website to find a PCR or antigen testing site near you.  

Biden, CDC Warn of ‘Impending Doom’ if Americans Let Up on COVID-19 Precautions Before Vaccinations Widespread

President Biden unveiled new actions to get more people vaccinated quickly and announce that by April 19, 90% of adults in the U.S. will be eligible for vaccination and 90% will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live, but warned that this is no time for Americans to lift the precautions of mask-wearing and social distancing © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Impending doom,” is how Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expressed her fear in an emotional appeal to Americans to stay the course in order to finally get the coronavirus pandemic under control, that despite the pace of vaccinations, it is still too early to abandon mask-wearing and social distancing to prevent what she feared would be a fourth wave.

She related “the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.  We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared.  I know what it’s like as a physician to stand in that patient room — gowned, gloved, masked, shielded — and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved one because their loved one couldn’t be there.
 
“I know what it’s like when you’re the physician, when you’re the healthcare provider and you’re worried that you don’t have the resources to take care of the patients in front of you.  I know that feeling of nausea when you read the crisis standards of care and you wonder whether there are going to be enough ventilators to go around and who’s going to make that choice.  And I know what it’s like to pull up to your hospital every day and see the extra morgue sitting outside.
 
“I didn’t know at the time when it was — when it would stop; we didn’t have the science to tell us.  We were just scared.  We have come such a long way.  Three historic scientific breakthrough vaccines, and we are rolling them out so very fast. 
 
“So I’m speaking today not necessarily as your CDC director — not only as your CDC director but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer.  I so badly want to be done.  I know you all so badly want to be done.  We are just almost there but not quite yet.  And so I’m asking you to just hold on a little longer, to get vaccinated when you can so that all of those people that we all love will still be here when this pandemic ends.
 
“The trajectory of the pandemic in the United States looks similar to many other countries in Europe, including Germany, Italy, and France looked like just a few weeks ago.  And since that time, those countries have experienced a consistent and worrying spike in cases.  We are not powerless; we can change this trajectory of the pandemic.  But it will take all of us, recommitting to following the public health prevention strategies consistently, while we work to get the American public vaccinated. 
 
“I’m calling on our elected officials, our faith-based communities, our civic leaders, and our other influencers in communities across the nation, and I’m calling on every single one of you to sound the alarm to carry these messages into your community and your spheres of influence.  We do not have the luxury of inaction.  For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge. 
 
“And after that honest plea, I want to reflect on so many reasons we have to be hopeful and why your actions today can get us out of this soon.  As I shared last week, we continue to get more and more real-world evidence on the protection of COVID-19 vaccines provide.  And CDC scientists have been working since these vaccines were first authorized to expand the evidence supporting their effectiveness,” she said.

Biden: ‘This is Deadly Serious’

President Joe Biden in remarks later on expanding access to COVID-19 vaccinations, said, “Our progress on vaccination is a stunning example that there is nothing — nothing this country cannot do if we put our minds to it and we do it together. 
 
“But as I’ve also said, I will always give you it straight — straight from the shoulder.  Our work is far from over.  The war against COVID-19 is far from won.  This is deadly serious…

“This is not the time to lessen our efforts.  That’s what [CDC Director Rochelle Walensky] said.  We could still see a setback in the vaccination program.  And most importantly, if we let our guard down now, we could see a virus getting worse, not better. 
 
“You know, as many people as we have vaccinated, we still have more Americans left to go.  You know, we will administer more shots in March than any country on Earth.  But even so, we have to give more shots in April than we did in March.  Because we’re in the life and death race for the virus that is spreading quickly with cases rising again.  New variants are spreading.  And sadly, some of the reckless behavior we’ve seen on television over the past few weeks means that more new cases are to come in the weeks ahead.
 
“With vaccines, there’s hope, which is a — which is a very good thing, to state the obvious.  But people are let — are letting up on precautions, which is a very bad thing.  Look, to this point, cases have fallen two thirds since I took office.  Deaths have also fallen two thirds.  But now cases are going back up and, in some states, deaths are as well.  You know, we’re giving up hard-fought, hard-won gains.  And as much as we are doing, America, it is time to do even more.  All of us have to do our part, every one of us….”

 FACT SHEET:

President Biden Announces 90% of the Adult U.S. Population will be Eligible for Vaccination and 90% will have a Vaccination Site Within 5 Miles of Home by April 19

New Actions to Accomplish Goal: Expanding Pharmacy Program and Launching a New Program to Transport the Most Vulnerable Seniors and People with Disabilities to Vaccination Sites

President Biden unveiled new actions to get more people vaccinated quickly and announce that by April 19, 90% of adults in the U.S. will be eligible for vaccination and 90% will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live. The President announced that the Administration is increasing the number of pharmacies in the federal pharmacy vaccination program from 17,000 to nearly 40,000 across the country and will stand up a dozen more mass vaccination sites by April 19.  He also announced a new effort to fund community organizations to provide transportation and assistance for the nation’s most at-risk seniors and people with disabilities to access vaccines. This builds on last week’s historic $10 billion investment to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines in the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities.

President Biden called for all states, Tribes, and territories to make all U.S. adults eligible for vaccination no later than May 1 and is working closely with state and local leaders to make this happen as quickly as possible. To date, 31 states have said they will open up eligibility to all adults by April 19. With today’s actions to expand access, that means in just three weeks, 90% of all U.S. adults will be eligible for vaccination and 90% will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live.

The President reminded Americans about the importance of taking preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, as variants continue to spread and cases are on the rise. He called for continued masking and social distancing as we work to get more people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Actions include:

Expanding Vaccines to 20,000 More Local Pharmacies, Bringing the Total to Nearly 40,000 Pharmacies Across the Country by April 19: The President will announce that the Administration is expanding the Federal Retail Pharmacy program from 17,000 to nearly 40,000 stores within the next three weeks. This means that by April 19, there will be a vaccine site within 5 miles of 90% of all Americans. The participating pharmacies in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program are located in communities across the country – including 45% currently in the highest-need neighborhoods.

Launching New Effort to Get the Nation’s Most Vulnerable and At-Risk Seniors and People with Disabilities Vaccinated: The President will announce nearly $100 million in funding to help vaccinate vulnerable and at-risk older adults and people with disabilities. This new effort will expand the senior and disability services funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide the high-intensity assistance needed to get these individuals scheduled for and transported to vaccinations. It will also fund community organizations to transport them to appointments, which can involve extra time, assistance with mobility, and supporting people during wait times. Funding will be available starting within two weeks. The Administration has made tremendous progress on vaccinating seniors, with over 70% of people over 65 years old receiving at least one shot, and this new program will help vaccinate our most vulnerable and at-risk seniors and people with disabilities who have yet to be vaccinated, including those who need assistance leaving their home or are socially isolated. 

Expanding the Number of Mass Vaccination Centers Across the Country: The President will announce that the Administration will stand up a dozen more federally-run mass vaccination sites across the country, including two new sites in Gary, Indiana and St. Louis, Missouri announced earlier today. Equity and access are prioritized in the design of the federal community vaccination centers, with some featuring weekend and extended daytime hours, reserved slots for registration through faith-based and community-based organizations, and deployment of mobile vaccination units to help vaccinate surrounding communities. This is in addition to the over $4 billion federal funding obligated to date and thousands of federal personnel deployed to support state- and locally-run community vaccination centers. In partnership with states, FEMA has launched 21 sites in communities across the country. Together, these sites have the ability to administer a total of 79,000 shots per day at full capacity.

New Yorkers 30 Years and Older Can get Vaccinated Starting March 30; 16 Years+ Starting April 6

New Yorkers 30 Years of Age and Older Can Begin to Schedule Appointments and Get Vaccinated Beginning Tuesday, March 30

New Yorkers 16 Years of Age and Older Can Begin to Schedule Appointments and Get Vaccinated Beginning April 6

New York State Will Make Eligibility Universal Nearly a Month Earlier Than President Biden’s May 1 Deadline

More Than 2 Million Total Doses Administered at New York State-Run and FEMA Assisted Mass Vaccination Sites     

More Than 9 Million Total Doses Administered Across All Vaccination Sites Statewide

171,419 Doses Administered Across New York State in the Last 24 Hours     

More than 1.3 Million Doses Administered Over Past Seven Days

30% of New Yorkers Have Received at Least One Dose     

Vaccine Dashboard Will Update Daily to Provide Updates on the State’s Vaccine Program; Go to ny.gov/vaccinetracker       

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. Beginning Tuesday, March 30 at 8 a.m., all New Yorkers 30 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Beginning April 6, universal eligibility goes into effect and all New Yorkers 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. Beginning Tuesday, March 30 at 8 a.m., all New Yorkers 30 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Beginning April 6, universal eligibility goes into effect and all New Yorkers 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Additionally, the Governor announced more than 2 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered at New York State-run and FEMA-assisted mass vaccination sites. Statewide, more than 9 million total doses have been administered across all vaccination sites. 171,419 doses have been administered across the state’s vast distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1.3 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. Delivery of the week 16 allocation begins mid-week. 

“Today we take a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID. Beginning March 30, all New Yorkers age 30 or older will be able to be vaccinated, and all New Yorkers age 16 or older will be eligible on April 6, well ahead of the May 1 deadline set by the White House,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue to expand eligibility, New York will double down on making the vaccine accessible for every community to ensure equity, particularly for communities of color who are too often left behind. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but until we get there it is more important than ever for each and every New Yorker to wear a mask, socially distance and follow all safety guidelines.”

New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.                              

The ‘Am I Eligible’ screening tool has been updated for individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks. New Yorkers can use the following to show they are eligible:

·     Doctor’s letter, or

·     Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or

·     Signed certification      

Vaccination program numbers below are for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state’s vaccination program, and do not include those reserved for the federal government’s Long Term Care Facility program. A breakdown of the data based on numbers reported to New York State as of 11 AM today is as follows.                            

STATEWIDE BREAKDOWN

Total doses administered – 9,056,970

Total doses administered over past 24 hours – 171,419

Total doses administered over past 7 days – 1,319,740

Percent of New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose – 29.6%

Percent of New Yorkers with completed vaccine series – 16.8% 

 People with at least one vaccine dosePeople with complete vaccine series
RegionCumulative TotalIncrease over past 24 hoursCumulative TotalIncrease over past 24 hours
Capital Region357,3943,877200,9588,021
Central New York311,7584,284194,8576,867
Finger Lakes368,8593,160203,1756,570
Long Island701,77014,940383,8968,407
Mid-Hudson591,1678,028297,5576,725
Mohawk Valley157,2512,02695,2713,855
New York City2,650,33230,4751,550,45646,616
North Country166,3411,612110,5272,739
Southern Tier200,8712,372109,9122,980
Western New York392,5354,186212,5874,606
Statewide5,898,27874,9603,359,19697,386
 
                             
1st doses fully delivered to New York Providers 2nd doses fully delivered to New York Providers TOTALCUMULATIVE
Week 1 Doses arriving 12/14 – 12/20163,6500163,650163,650
Week 2 Doses arriving 12/21 – 12/27452,1250452,125 615,775
Week 3 Doses arriving 12/28 – 01/03227,3950227,395843,170
Week 4 Doses arriving 01/04 – 01/10239,025165,150404,1751,247,345
Week 5 Doses arriving 01/11 – 01/17221,315119,925  341,240  1,588,585
Week 6 Doses arriving 01/18- 01/24250,400462,395  712,795  2,301,380
Week 7 Doses arriving 01/25 – 01/31260,150239,525499,6752,801,055
Week 8 Doses arriving 02/01 – 02/07321,850220,720542,5703,343,625
Week 9 Doses arriving 02/8 – 02/14320,000244,500564,5003,908,125
Week 10 Doses arriving 2/15 – 2/21356,990265,525622,5154,530,640
Week 11 Doses arriving 2/22 – 2/28 393,530305,780699,3105,229,950
Week 12 Doses arriving 03/01 – 03/07 1,020,660290,5001,311,1606,541,110
Week 13 Doses arriving 03/08 – 03/14618,880526,4151,145,2957,686,405
Week 14 Doses arriving 03/15 – 3/21699,790584,7751,284,5658,970,970
Week 15 Doses arriving 03/22 – 3/28828,000737,0801,565,08010,536,050

New Yorkers seeking to determine eligibility and schedule an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site, can visit the ‘Am I Eligible’ website. New Yorkers may also call their local health department, pharmacy, doctor, or hospital for additional information and to schedule appointments where vaccines are available.                

The COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker Dashboard is available to update New Yorkers on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The New York State Department of Health requires vaccinating facilities to report all COVID-19 vaccine administration data within 24 hours; the vaccine administration data on the dashboard is updated daily to reflect the most up-to-date metrics in the state’s vaccination effort.          

New Yorkers who suspect fraud in the vaccine distribution process can now call 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) toll-free or email the state Department of Health at STOPVAXFRAUD@health.ny.gov. Hotline staff will route complaints to the appropriate investigative agencies to ensure New Yorkers are not being taken advantage of as the State works to vaccinate the entire eligible population. 

Biden Administration Launches Multi-Agency Effort to Support Renters, Landlords as CDC Extends Federal Eviction Moratorium

Following today’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a 90-day extension of the federal eviction moratorium, the Biden-Harris Administration is continuing its efforts to support tenants and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here’s what a functioning, responsive government looks like. This is detail on the Biden administration’s multi-agency effort to support renters and landlords from the White House:

Today’s action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to extend the federal eviction moratorium represents the latest effort to provide relief to renters and landlords.

Following today’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a 90-day extension of the federal eviction moratorium, the Biden-Harris Administration is continuing its efforts to support tenants and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal agencies including the Treasury Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are coordinating efforts to get tenants and landlords the assistance they need during the public health crisis.

President Biden entered office facing twin crises of historic proportions: a global pandemic and an economic downturn that left 10 million people out of work and one in five renters behind on rent. On January 29th, just days after President Biden entered office, the CDC extended the existing eviction moratorium through the end of March, recognizing the historic threat to our nation’s health. Alongside the extension, the Administration continued to seek relief for struggling Americans. $25 billion had been allocated to rental assistance under the CARES Act, and the Biden-Harris Administration worked quickly to streamline and simplify the rules to access funding. The American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Biden, will deliver an additional $21.5 billion in emergency rental assistance to help millions of families keep up on rent and remain in their homes.

President Biden remains committed to implementing a whole-of-government approach to addressing the nation’s housing challenges. The White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator is working across agencies and with White House offices to implement the American Rescue Plan’s housing provisions. And, Treasury, HUD, USDA, CFPB and the FTC are upholding that commitment through the following actions to maximize the impact of the extension and additional funding in the American Rescue Plan:

 Treasury

  • The Treasury Department is in the process of delivering $1,400 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to approximately 85% of American households, including those who may be behind on rent or at threat of eviction. More than 100 million EIPs have already been delivered.
  • The Treasury Department continues to administer the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the passage of the ARP, an additional $21.5 billion is available, almost doubling in size the scale and reach of this program and providing greater relief to our most vulnerable households.
  • Rental assistance is being distributed by the Treasury Department to state and local grantees. Renters and landlords seeking access to rental assistance should apply directly to the local program in their area. More information on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, including eligibility requirements, can be found here.
  • The Treasury Department recently updated guidance on the ERAP, providing grantees greater flexibility in determining renter eligibility.
  • The Treasury Department is administering funding to cover costs borne by state and local governments that have stepped in during the crisis to provide housing assistance and relief to Americans across the country. These critical measures taken to blunt the impacts of the economic fallout from the pandemic will no longer be a strain on the balance sheets of American municipalities.

HUD

  • HUD will reach out to HUD grantees, including tens of thousands of local governments and housing providers, and other program participants to communicate about the eviction moratorium extension and will offer guidance and support where needed.
  • HUD will continue to coordinate across federal agencies to efficiently implement emergency rental assistance programs that prevent evictions and ensure financial stability of renters and rental properties (including programs from HUD, Treasury, and HHS’s Administration for Children and Families).  
  • HUD will continue to support CDC in developing strategies for monitoring and evaluating the impacts of the eviction moratorium.
  • HUD will continue its responsibilities in upholding the Fair Housing Act and will monitor and address circumstances where landlords are evicting tenants because of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, familial status, or national origin. If tenants feel like they have experienced discriminatory treatment, they can contact HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Tenants can also file discrimination complaints online at hud.gov/fairhousing.

USDA 

  • USDA will send a notice to 7,000 property owners in its multifamily portfolio to inform them of their obligations under the extended CDC Eviction Moratorium. USDA will also require property owners to post the extension at their properties along with a template of the original moratorium letters. These actions follow USDA’s outreach to 400,000 tenants to share information on the protections provided under the CDC Eviction Moratorium as well as information on how to access the U.S Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

CFPB

  • Tenants can learn about their eviction and debt collection rights and how to get help with housing costs at www.consumerfinance.gov/renters.
  • The CFPB is taking complaints from tenants about problems with debt collectors, including attorneys seeking to evict tenants in violation of the CDC eviction moratorium. Consumers can submit a complaint at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ or by calling (855) 411-2372
  • The CFPB will monitor and investigate eviction practices to ensure that companies are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate the law.

FTC

  • The FTC will be monitoring and investigating eviction practices to ensure that companies are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate the law.