‘The pandemic is over’: Not everyone agrees with president’s assessment
Is the COVID-19 pandemic over? President Joe Biden’s declared it was in a “60 Minutes” interview with CBS that aired on Sunday.
“The pandemic is over,” Biden said. “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it, but the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape.”
Biden participated in the interview with CBS while attending the Detroit Auto Show.
The timing of the declaration seems odd given the public campaign in the U.S.to urge citizens to get booster shots against the latest strains of the virus.
Health officials are also urging Congress to spend more than $22 billion on additional COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Since the controversial statement, the president has attempted to walk back his remarks.
“The pandemic is, quote, ‘over,’ as I got criticized for saying,” said Biden at a Democratic event this week. “But it basically is not where it was.”
Some health experts worry that Biden is putting politics over public health.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 400 Americans are dying daily from COVID-19. It is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. And per capita, excess deaths and COVID mortality are still higher in the U.S. than in other wealthy nations.
COVID-19 is still considered to be a public health emergency both domestically and around the world. The declaration has been in place since January 2020 and has not been lifted.
At a news conference, the World Health Organization’s director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“But it is still a long way off, and the tunnel is still dark with many obstacles that could trip us up if we don’t take care. We all need hope that we can, and we will, get to the end of the tunnel and put the pandemic behind us. But we’re not there yet.
“We’re in a better position than we’ve ever been.”
The number of weekly deaths continues to decline, according to Ghebreyesus.
“Two thirds of the world’s population is vaccinated, including three quarters of health workers and older people. In most countries, restrictions have ended, and life looks much like it did before the pandemic.”
WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove said in an article in U.S. News and World Report that revoking the emergency declaration is under active discussion.
“We’re working on ending the emergency in every country,” Van Kerkhove said in the article. “As this is a global problem, we need to end this at a global level.”