President Joe Biden declared the COVID-19 pandemic over during a “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday, reportedly shocking members of his own administration.
Biden acknowledged the country still has “a problem with COVID,” he emphatically stated the pandemic is over, despite statements from senior health officials that the pandemic is killing hundreds of Americans a day. They had no idea that Biden would make such a declaration, were taken aback, according to The Washington Post.
After complaining for two years that it’s the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” the President did maybe the single worst thing anyone could do to lower vaccination rates: prematurely declare the pandemic is over.
— Dr. Lucky Tran (@luckytran) September 19, 2022
Biden’s declaration, which was recorded Wednesday during a Detroit auto show, contradicted messaging from other top White House officials regarding the pandemic. In recent weeks, the administration has pushed for Americans to get the new bivalent booster vaccine dose, which targets the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
“We have a virus out there that’s still circulating, still killing hundreds of Americans every day,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Ashish Jha said Sep. 6. “I think we all as Americans have to pull together to try to protect Americans … and do what we can to get our health-care system through what might be a difficult fall and winter ahead.”
The statement also undermines the administration’s extension of the ongoing pandemic state of emergency. Once the state of emergency expires, many policies instituted during the pandemic, including the president’s plan to relieve student loan debt, would no longer have legal justification. (RELATED: ‘Just An Inch, Hardly At All’: Biden Downplays Inflation Growth)
The pandemic declaration wasn’t the only statement Biden made during the interview that contradicted current or previous stances of the White House. Biden once again stated that the United States would use its own troops to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion, despite the repeated White House statements that national policy on the issue has not changed.