Biden says the covid pandemic is 'over'

Biden says the pandemic is ‘over’ – so why are there still so many mandates Mr. President? Republicans demand end to all COVID restrictions after 60 Minutes interview declaration

  • President Joe Biden declared the covid-19 pandemic is ‘over’ 
  • ‘The pandemic is over,’ Biden told CBS News. ‘We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over’ 
  • Biden’s comments took administration officials by surprise
  • It led to questions about the White House request for $22.4 billion in covid funding and why federal mandates remain in place 

President Joe Biden declared the covid-19 pandemic is ‘over’ in a statement that took officials in his administration by surprise and led to questions about why the government continues to enforce federal mandates and seek more funding to fight the disease.

Biden’s statement, made during an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes that aired on Sunday night, came as a surprise to administration officials, two senior health officials told The Washington Post.

And his seemly off-the-cuff comment may have torpedoed his request to Congress for $22.4 billion in funds to fight the pandemic. Republicans were already wary about supporting the funding and Biden’s declaration didn’t win him any support.  

‘The pandemic is over,’ Biden told CBS News. ‘We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. 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.’ 

Earlier this summer, the U.S. renewed its order designating covid a national emergency. The designation was set to expire in October. It gives the administration flexibility to combat the pandemic, including rapidly authorizing treatments and keeping many Americans covered by Medicaid.

President Joe Biden declared the covid-19 pandemic is ‘over’ in an interview with CBS News

The World Health Organization also says covid remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. 

And Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus coordinator, said earlier this month that covid was still out there.

‘We have a virus out there that’s still circulating, still killing hundreds of Americans every day,’ Jha said at a Sept. 9 press briefing. ‘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.’ 

There were about 65,000 new covid cases reported each day over the past two weeks, Johns Hopkins University said. And about 400 people are dying every day in the United States from the disease. 

Biden, in the interview, acknowledged it remains a ‘difficult time.’ 

‘I think you’d agree that the impact on the psyche of the American people as a consequence of the pandemic is profound. 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,’ he said. 

‘It’s been a very difficult time. Very difficult,’ he noted. 

Republicans jumped on his comments to push back against the White House’s request for the $22.4 billion to combat the coronavirus pandemic with vaccines, testing, and treatments.

With everyday life rapidly returning to normal, the funding request already was a tough sell.  

‘Joe Biden asked Congress to pass $22 billion in new pandemic funding THIS WEEK because he said the pandemic was NOT over! Now that Biden says the pandemic is over, he should END the military COVID vax mandate and STOP making young children wear masks in Head Start!,’ Republican Congresswoman Mary Miller of Illinois wrote on Twitter.

And Republican Rep. Andy Biggs said Biden should end federal mandates, writing ‘Biden must immediately cease his draconian mask and vaccine mandates for Americans.’ 

Biden’s statement led to questions about why federal mandates remain in place such as the requirement members of the military get vaccinated

There also remains a vaccine requirements for staff at health care facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid

The White House argues covid cases could go up this fall and, without the additional funding, easy access to testing, vaccines and boosters may not be available.  As of Sept. 2, Americans could no longer order free at-home rapid tests from the federal government.

There also remains the question of the federal mandates that Biden ordered and if they will remain in place. The White House didn’t respond to’s inquiry on the mandates.

Federal mandates in place include:

  • Vaccine requirements for staff at health care facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid 
  • Biden also signed a vaccine mandate for federal workers but that is on hold pending a September hearing on his order
  • The mandate for masks on public transportation – including flights and subways – was struck down by the courts but the Justice Department is appealing it 
  • The Pentagon requires all members of the military to be vaccinated 
  • Travelers to the United States have to show proof of vaccination before entry into the country

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has eased up on covid restrictions in the las few months, such as shortening the quarantine period from 10 days to five. 

The CDC also put less emphasis on social distancing. The new guidance released in August dropped the ‘six foot’ standard.

It’s unclear how Biden’s comment will affect state and local guidelines in areas like New York, where city officials have fired teachers for not meeting vaccine requirements.

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