Joe Biden Calls on Americans to 'Hang on' as Pandemic Woes Hit Home This Thanksgiving

"We're all in this together," the president-elect said

Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP/Shutterstock

Joe Biden will have a small dinner with his family at home in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, after he and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, wished the country a “Happy Thanksgiving” in an earnest and optimistic address shared via Twitter.

"Thanksgiving has always been a special time for the Biden family," the President-elect, 78, said in a two-and-a-half minute video published on his Twitter account. "For us, we've had a long, long tradition of traveling to Nantucket with our big family — a large family — every Thanksgiving."

"We won't be doing that this year. This year, we'll be staying in Delaware with just a small group around our dinner table," Joe continued.

Joe added that the "small act of staying home" should be viewed as "a shared sacrifice for the whole country — a statement of calm and purpose that says we care about one another, and we're all in this together."

The future First Lady echoed her husband's remarks.

"This has been a year filled with heartache and loss, yet there's still so much to be thankful for," Jill said, adding that she was giving thanks for frontline workers, service members, teachers, and those who "met this moment with kindness."

The couple also published a joint op-ed via CNN on Thursday, in which they expounded on the theme of being grateful amidst the pandemic, and noted their own history with loss.

"This year of loss has revealed our collective strength," the Bidens wrote. "It has shown us that our lives are connected in ways unseen -- that we can be apart without being alone."

The president-elect also filmed a more formal address to the American people, published on the Biden-Harris transition team's Twitter account on Wednesday.

Imploring Americans to “hang on” and not “surrender to the fatigue,” the former vice president reiterated the important role each person in the U.S. has to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

“I know we can and will beat this virus,” Joe said during the remote address, reminding not just about following federal health guidelines this holiday season but also urging people to remember and care for each other.

“Faith, courage, sacrifice, service to country, service to each other, and gratitude—even in the face of suffering—have long been part of what Thanksgiving means in America,” he said, adding that “we all have a role to play in beating this virus” and promising he’ll lead a “national, coordinated response” to the pandemic.

Joe said last week he planned to have a safe Thanksgiving celebration at home and encouraged others to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and gather with no more than 10 people for the holidays.

"Not just for your sake, but for the sake of your children, your mother, your father, your sisters, your brothers, whoever you get together with for Thanksgiving," he said. "Think about this."

Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden. Mark Makela/Getty

The COVID-19 pandemic has entered its most dangerous stretch this month, while the coronavirus infected at least two million Americans in the last two weeks alone, according to a New York Times tracker.

Some 261,000 people in the U.S. have died from the COVID-19 respiratory illness this year, while more than 12.7 million have tested positive for the novel virus that causes the disease.

Federal health officials have continued to stress the importance of social distancing, wearing protective face masks, and limiting gatherings as much as possible to help slow the virus’ spread until vaccines are made widely available.

“The federal government can’t do it alone,” the president-elect said, adding that “each of us has a responsibility in our own lives to do what we can to slow the virus.”

Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty

Coming off a historic election victory, in which he received more than 80 million votes to replace one-term President Donald Trump, Joe thanked the country for putting its “trust” in him to lead it back from its intertwined health and economic crisis.

As many families across the country forewent gathering around the Thanksgiving table this year in a unified effort to slow the virus’ spread, the president-elect called on the country to “love,” “dream,” and “come together.”

In a particularly empathetic moment in his somber—yet hopeful—Wednesday speech, the president-elect referenced his late children Beau, Naomi, and his late first wife Neilia.

"For those who have lost a loved one, I know that this time of the year can be especially difficult,” he said. “I remember that first Thanksgiving—the empty chair, the silence—it takes your breath away. I’ll be thinking and praying for each and every one of you this Thanksgiving.”

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