Was he being forgetful, going off script or something worse?
President Joe Biden said “the pandemic is over” in discussing Covid during an interview that aired on Sunday evening on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
“The pandemic is over,” the president told Scott Pelley as they talked last week at the Detroit Auto Show. “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.”
Despite Biden’s statement, Covid has continued to exact a toll in the United States and around the world. The John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center lists more than 2 million Covid cases in the country in the last 28 days, with hundreds dying from the disease every day.
Biden’s insistence on Sunday night that the pandemic is over caught several of his own health officials by surprise. The declaration was not part of his planned remarks ahead of the “60 Minutes” interview, two administration officials familiar with the matter told POLITICO.
More at: Politico.com
COVID Public Health Emergency Extended Another 3 Months by Biden Administration
Biden’s insistence that the pandemic has concluded contrasts with the actions of his administration, as a COVID-19 public health emergency remains in place and a $22.5 billion congressional budget request to fuel the COVID-19 response remains outstanding.
“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it,” said Biden during his 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday. “It’s — 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. And I think this is a perfect example of it,” said Biden.
Despite Biden’s off-the-cuff remark, the administration’s COVID-19 public health emergency remains in place through at least Oct. 13, though it is expected to be extended through the midterm elections. The emergency declaration has allowed the federal government to speed up authorization of COVID-19 treatments and required states to offer continuous enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Millions are at risk of losing their health insurance coverage when the public health emergency ends. Over 17% of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollees, or about 15 million people, will lose their coverage if the continuous enrollment requirement ends, per a Department of Health and Human Services report. The requirement has allowed people who may have exceeded income levels to qualify for the health programs to remain enrolled without temporary or permanent lapses.
The public health emergency has also made federal grant funding and supplemental appropriations available to state and local entities. So far, the Department of Health and Human Services has distributed over $153 billion in emergency grant funding to support the COVID-19 response, according to a tracker maintained by HHS. Some of the funding, which is allocated through a number of federal laws such as the CARES Act, is not contingent on the public health emergency declaration.
Just last month, Biden forgave billions in federal student loans based on emergency powers tied to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in federal student loans to qualifying borrowers and extend a pause on payments through Dec. 31, 2021, relies on the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act. The legislation, which was first passed to help borrowers serving in the military after 9/11, gives the federal government the power to waive certain federal student loan requirements to support borrowers in the event of an emergency, such as a disaster or war.
The Biden administration has also asked Congress to approve an additional $22.4 billion to support its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that the federal dollars are crucial to continue providing and developing COVID-19 vaccines and tests.
Biden’s remarks reflect a growing sentiment among the U.S. population as COVID-19 case numbers trend downward, though they were met with ire by some epidemiologists who thought it was premature to declare the pandemic fully over as hundreds continue to die of the virus each day.
As of Sept. 14, the seven-day average of daily new COVID-19 cases was 59,856, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The current seven-day average of new deaths is 344, and between Sept. 7 and 12, the seven-day daily average for new COVID-19 hospital admissions was 4,371.
Gregg Gonsalves, an associate professor of epidemiology at Yale, tweeted he had shared his dissatisfaction with the White House, saying Biden ignored the “devastating toll” that COVID-19 continues to take on the country out of “political expediency.”
“Saying the pandemic is over gets no one vaccinated, no one boosted. Saying the pandemic is over, gets no one access to care and treatment if they have no insurance,” said Gonsalves. “Clearly those of us in public health who still see unfinished business in a pandemic that is taking a devastating toll on this country will have to do this alone.”
Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters that the COVID-19 pandemic was not over yet but that “the end is in sight.”
More at: WashingtonExaminer.com
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.
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 DailyMail.com’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.
More at: DailyMail.uk.co
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