Mr. Biden will urge Congress to pass legislation, approved by the House in December, to increase the Federal Maritime Commission’s oversight of the shipping industry.
On Tuesday, the president will not wear a mask and his remarks will be made without mask. The same day, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted many Covid restrictions for communities throughout the country where death rates, hospitalizations and cases have fallen, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also lift many Covid restrictions.
Officials announced that mask requirements for vaccinated White House employees and visitors will be dropped starting on Tuesday, a move that will allow Mr. Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, to host their State of the Union guests at a reception that evening — something that was not allowed under previous rules.
Mr. Biden has battled the pandemic — and its effects on American work and life — since taking office, largely by vaccinating nearly three-quarters of the population. Administration officials are hoping to enter a new phase in the pandemic as the Omicron virus’s impact diminishes.
While the White House is developing a detailed response strategy for the next stage of the pandemic coronavirus, Mr. Biden will not be able to reveal it during his speech. Instead, he is expected to speak about the coronavirus pandemic in broad strokes, invoking the same “things are getting better, but we are not out of the woods yet” tone that he has adopted in recent weeks.
A White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to preview the president’s remarks, said Mr. Biden would “highlight that the country has made tremendous progress” over the past 13 months, and remind Americans that the nation has tools — including vaccines and treatments — to prevent severe disease and to treat those who do get sick.
Mr. Biden has been criticized for prematurely declaring “independence” from the virus last summer, only to see a new wave of infection and death from the Delta variant later that year. Officials at the White House are careful not to repeat that mistake.
While the threat to the immediate future is decreasing, the number of cases is declining. However, Mr. Biden will remind the nation that the virus is unpredictable and that his administration is working to prepare for it in the future.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Ana SwansonAnd Katie RogersContributed reporting
Source: NY Times