Bidens express gratitude for health care workers ahead of Super Bowl kickoff
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President Biden and first lady Jill BidenJill BidenBidens visit WWII memorial to mark 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack China warns of 'firm countermeasures' if US stages diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics Biden returns restores tradition, returning to Kennedy Center Honors MORE thanked health care workers from around the country for their work during the coronavirus pandemic in an ad that aired ahead of the Super Bowl kickoff on Sunday.

The couple in a pre-recorded message called on viewers to continue to “do our part” to combat the virus and to participate in a moment of silence for those who died of COVID-19 ahead of the game. 

“Before kickoff, we wanted to thank all of the frontline health care heroes, both at the game and watching across the country,” the first lady said. “You put yourself at risk to keep the rest of us safe. You and your families carried us through this year with courage, compassion and kindness. We couldn’t have made it without you. With all of our hearts, thank you.”

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President Biden instructed those watching to wear masks, socially distance, get tested and get vaccinated “when it’s your turn.”

“Most of all, let’s remember all those who we’ve lost,” he said. 

“So please join us, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League in a moment of silence for the more than 440,000 who lost their lives to this pandemic and to the loved ones they left behind,” the president concluded. 

The Bidens’ message aired minutes before the 6:30 p.m. kickoff.

Jill Biden and their family dogs Major and Champ Biden also recorded a public service announcement to air during the Puppy Bowl XVII, in which they promote mask wearing during the pandemic. 

"For a lot of us during this pandemic, our pets have been such a source of joy and comfort," the first lady said. "And maybe a bark or two on a video conference."

"We owe it to them to keep ourselves healthy,” she added. “So please keep wearing your masks, even when you're out walking your dog."

The Super Bowl comes as the U.S. nears 27 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 463,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended Americans watch the Super Bowl virtually or with members of their household due to the pandemic.