US President Joseph Biden said during a TV interview aired late Sunday that the COVID-19 pandemic was over. “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over,” Biden said, thus sparking a series of uproars from within scientific and politician communities.
“If you notice, no one’s wearing masks,” Biden pointed out. “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,” he added.
“One of the (many) reasons they’re not wearing masks is because people like Biden keep (falsely) telling them the pandemic is over,” someone replied on social media.
There seemed to be a consensus that Biden's words had been an, at best, an overstatement. Dr. Erif Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and former Harvard University faculty member, responded to Biden with an emphatic, “Heck no.” With all due respect, @JoeBiden — you’re wrong. The pandemic is not over. Almost 3,000 Americans are dying from #COVID19 every single week,” he wrote.
Feigl-Ding also followed up hours later, tweeting, “I’m still shaking my head at what Biden says. If he only knew how much I stuck my head out and sacrificed for him in 2020…”
Biden’s assertion seemed to have taken several of his own health officials by surprise, it was reported.
The interview was done as he walked the floor of the Detroit Auto Show last week. Gesturing around the hall. The President's comments came only a few weeks after his administration asked Congress for billions of dollars to maintain its testing and vaccination effort. His remarks contradicted statements from his own aides as they have urged Americans to seek out an updated booster ahead of a feared fall and winter wave.
Officials have also pointed out that a public health emergency declaration for COVID-19 is expected to be renewed at least once more this year, although COVID-19 restrictions have been largely eliminated by local health departments and travel is back at pre-pandemic levels. The pace of new hospitalizations from the virus has now also slowed dramatically in the wake of the summer wave driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. Officials have credited widespread immunity from vaccines and prior infections, as well as the growing use of COVID-19 treatments like Pfizer's Paxlovid, for the encouraging results.
The president pointed to the pandemic as a big reason his approval rating has been well below 50%. 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, Biden said.
When Biden got elected, only 2 million people had been vaccinated; I got 220 million— my point is, it takes time. We were left in a very difficult situation. it's been a very difficult time. Very difficult, the President insisted.