July 4 to mark 'independence from this virus:' Biden

That date is a new goal for the president, who has warned Americans that further pain and death were still to come from the virus that has killed more than 530,000 people in the United States, the most of any country. Coronavirus-related lockdowns and restrictions have cost millions of jobs.

In a recounting of the grim toll the pandemic has taken on the nation, Biden said: "Photos and videos from 2019 feel like they were taken in another era. The last vacation. The last birthday with friends. The last holiday with extended family.

"While it was different for everyone, we all lost something," he said, noting that the virus was met with "denials for days, then weeks, then months, that led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, more loneliness."

But as the financial stimulus from the newly enacted relief bill reaches a growing number of vaccinated people, Biden offered cautious optimism to a country that, like the rest of the world, is tired of pandemic restrictions and economic pain.