Dr. Anthony Fauci was forced to do cleanup duty Monday after President Joe Biden declared to “60 Minutes” the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Fauci told Politico that what the president “really meant” was that the worst of the pandemic has passed, but the U.S. isn’t home-free just yet. Biden told “60 Minutes” the pandemic was over, even though there’s still some work to do to combat the virus, in an interview that aired Sunday.
President Biden’s statement that the “pandemic is over” caught his team by surprise and led GOP to call for an end to covid policies.
Federal officials sought to clarify: covid fight isn’t done.
TONY FAUCI: “I’m not comfortable with 400 deaths per day.”https://t.co/ltwwkgaOKS
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 19, 2022
“What he really meant is that the very severe stage of the pandemic of having … 3,000 deaths a day — that stage is no longer present,” Fauci said to Politico. “People should not be cavalier that we’re out of the woods.”
Multiple outlets reported that Biden’s COVID-19 team, including Fauci, his top medical adviser, was completely unaware he had made the comment until the interview aired. The White House reportedly did not alert the coronavirus response team about the comments even after reviewing the transcript of the interview.
“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it,” Biden said. “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.”
Biden’s message directly contradicts recent statements by his own COVID advisers, including Fauci. Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Coronavirus Response Team, warned in early September that the virus is still circulating and killing hundreds of Americans every day: “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.”
COVID-19 wasn’t the only topic the White House had to do damage control on after the Biden interview. The administration also had to clarify that its policy toward Taiwan hadn’t changed after Biden said he would commit U.S. troops to defend the island in the event of a Chinese invasion. (RELATED: Biden Declaring The Pandemic ‘Over’ Stunned White House Officials: REPORT)
Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to the Daily Caller that despite the president’s declaration, the administration will keep the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in place.