Present Biden delivered the speech Americans have been waiting for
via CNBC / YouTube

President Biden marked the year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering his first prime-time address Thursday evening from the East Room of the White House

The speech was a solemn commemoration of the lives lost in the pandemic and the struggles Americans have faced for the past year. But the speech also marked a turning point as Americans are finally beginning to see the light after a long, dark night caused by the virus.

Biden summed up the succinctly with one line: "Finding light in the darkness is a very American thing to do."


At the beginning of the speech, Biden showed how far we've come since last March when the country suffered under chaotic leadership.

"A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked, denials for days, weeks, then months," Biden said. "That led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness."

He signaled the difference in empathy between him and his predecessor by brandishing a card he carries in his pocket that contains an updated number of Americans who've died from the virus. It now stands at over 527,000.

Biden noted the number of deaths was greater than two world wars, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined.

Much like he did on the campaign trail, he showed he understands what the average American has been going through over the past year. "The things we used to do that always filled us with joy have become things we couldn't do," he mourned. "It broke our hearts."


President Joe Biden addresses nation on first anniversary of Covid shutdown www.youtube.com

He then described a path forward marked by truth, faith in science, and continued vigilance to fight the virus in the final stretch.

"We know what we need to do to beat this virus; tell the truth, follow the science, work together," he said. "You're owed nothing less than the truth."

He took time to tout his administration's achievements in fighting the virus. While normally, this type of gesture by a sitting president would be seen as political grandstanding, a plurality of Americans believe his administration has done a good job.

The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey, found that sixty-two percent of Americans approve of how Biden is handling the pandemic.

"Now, because all the work we've done, we'll have enough vaccine supply for all adults in America by the end of May," he said. "That's months ahead of schedule."

Biden also proudly proclaimed he was going to "beat" his original goal of getting 100 million shots in people's arms in his first 100 days in office, by having it done in just 60.

The president also announced he has directed states to make all adult Americans eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines no later than May 1.

Finally, Biden gave Americans the shot in the arm they really need by providing a date by which he believes a sense of normalcy will return.

"If we do our part, if we do this together, by July the 4th there's a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day," the president said.

He called it a day we could declare "independence from this virus."

He ended the speech with a call to remain vigilant in the final months of the pandemic by getting vaccinated, washing your hands, and wearing a mask.

"I promise you, we'll come out stronger," Biden said. "With a renewed commitment to one another, to our communities, and to our country. This is the United States of America ... from the bottom of my heart, I believe this, that there's nothing we can't do when we do it together."



When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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