President Biden: ‘The pandemic is over’

Politics

US President Joe Biden speaks during an Eid al-Fitr reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 2, 2022. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

(The Hill) – President Biden in an interview that aired Sunday declared the coronavirus pandemic is “over,” pointing to the return of large events and the lack of masking and other public health measures in place nationwide.

“The pandemic is over,” Biden told “60 Minutes” from the Detroit auto show last Wednesday, the first one held since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. It’s– but the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.”

The United States is still recording an average of more than 400 deaths per day from COVID-19, according to New York Times data, and more than 1 million Americans have died from the virus since the pandemic began in early 2020.

Highly contagious variants have spread throughout the globe, making it nearly impossible to fully eradicate COVID-19.

As a result, the Biden administration has focused its messaging on the importance of getting vaccinated and receiving booster shots to increase immunity, as well as the wide availability of antiviral pills and other forms of treatment for those who contract the virus.

Biden himself contracted COVID-19 in July, but dealt with only mild symptoms, according to his doctor. Officials credited his mild case to being fully vaccinated and taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid.

The U.S. and much of the world has returned to hosting large events over the past year, like the auto show, and done away with requirements that attendees where mask or provide proof of vaccination. The U.S. does require foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated to come to the country by plane.

“I think you’d agree that the impact on the psyche of the American people as a consequence of the pandemic is profound,” Biden said in his interview with Scott Pelley. “Think of how that has changed everything. You know, people’s attitudes about themselves, their families, about the state of the nation, about the state of their communities. And so there’s a lot of uncertainty out there, a great deal of uncertainty. And we lost a million people. A million people to COVID.”

“When I got in office, when I got elected, only 2 million people had been vaccinated. I got 220 million–  my point is it takes time,” he added. “We were left in a very difficult situation. It’s been a very difficult time. Very difficult.”

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