Biden says ‘pandemic is over’, but White House Covid-19 policy remains unchanged
President Joe Biden has said “pandemic is over” in the country, but the White House is largely downplaying the comments by President by signaling that the Covid-19 policy is unchanged. “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with Covid. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. It’s . . . but the pandemic is over,” Biden said during an interview with CBS “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. But these comments caught some in the Biden administration by surprise, according to two officials in the White House.
One day later, White House announced that President Biden’s comments do not imply a change in the Covid policy of Biden administration to handle the virus, adding that there are no plans of lifting the Public Health Emergency that has been in place since it was imposed in January 2020 and has currently been extended through October 13, 2022.
President Biden’s comments had followed similar statements by other leaders. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in a news briefing last week that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic was “in sight”. “Last week, the number of weekly reported deaths from Covid-19 was the lowest since March 2020,” Ghebreyesus said. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We’re not there yet, but the end is in sight.” It is to be noted that the World Health Organization says that the Covid-19 pandemic remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
It has been, on prior occasions, been acknowledged by White House and President Biden that this is a new phase of the virus, stressing that though the pandemic isn’t over, it “no longer controls our lives”. “Because of the strategy we executed over the past year on vaccinations, testing, treatments, and more, we’re now in a new moment in this pandemic. It does not mean that Covid-19 is over; it means that Covid-19 no longer controls our lives. That’s what it means,” Biden said at the White House on March 30.