Washington, D.C. – United States president Joe Biden said in an interview aired on Sunday that “the pandemic is over”, even though the country continues to grapple with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections that kill hundreds of Americans daily.
“The pandemic is over,” Biden said during an interview conducted with the CBS 60 Minutes programme on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show, an event which drew thousands of visitors.
“We still have a problem with COVID,” he said. “We’re still doing a lotta 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.”
The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic diminished significantly since early in Biden’s term when more than 3 000 Americans a day were dying, as enhanced care, medications, and vaccinations have become more widely available.
But nearly 400 people a day continue to die from COVID-19 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden spent more than two weeks isolated in the White House after two bouts with COVID-19, starting in July. His wife Jill contracted the viral illness in August.
Biden said the mild cases were a testament to the improvements in care during his presidency – but he asked Congress for U.S. $22.4 billion more in funding to prepare for a potential fall case surge.