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Biden: Pandemic is “over” in the U.S.

The COVID-19 outbreak is “over” in the United States, according to President Biden, who stated as much in a Sunday night interview with “60 Minutes.”

The pandemic is gone. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing much work on it. But the pandemic is gone,” Mr Biden said.

The conversation was conducted last week while he was browsing the exhibits at the Detroit Auto Show. Gesturing around the hall, Mr Biden observed, “If you observe, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in a pretty good situation. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.”

Only a few weeks before Mr Biden’s remarks, his administration had requested billions of dollars from Congress to continue its testing and immunisation programmes.

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The comment contradicts advice given earlier this month by his aides, who recommended Americans get an updated booster in preparation for an anticipated fall and winter surge of the virus.

“The pandemic isn’t over. And we will remain vigilant, and of course, we continue to look for and prepare for unforeseen twists and turns,” Dr Ashish Jha, the White House’s top COVID-19 official, told media on September 6.

Federal health officials have criticised the overall average of 19 deaths as “still too high”, at roughly 400 per day.

According to officials, a public health emergency designation for COVID-19 is anticipated to be renewed at least twice this year.

However, local health officials in the United States have lifted COVID restrictions, and travel is already back to pre-pandemic levels.

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Following the summer wave triggered by the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron, the rate of new hospitalisations caused by the virus has significantly decreased. Despite a summer wave of infections, officials credit widespread protection from vaccinations and earlier illnesses, as well as rising usage of COVID-19 medicines like Pfizer’s Paxlovid, for halting the virus’s toll.

In the words of Jha and others, the fall boost campaign is intended to help Americans “get back to school, get back to work, and get back into their usual routines after the summer.”

However, because the president’s requests for pandemic money from Congress are still pending, administration officials claim they are currently attempting to wind down the majority of the federally funded components of the COVID-19 response.

According to the president, the pandemic is a significant factor in his approval rating, which is much below 50%.

“This is a tough time,” he remarked Scott Pelley reportedly. “We’re at an inflexion point in the history of this country. We’re going to make decisions, and we’re making decisions now that will determine what we’re going to look like in the next ten years. I think you’d agree that the impact on the psyche of the American people as a consequence of the pandemic is profound.”

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