President Biden surprised many people over the weekend. In an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes. Biden declared that the COVID-19 pandemic is “over.” He added that the virus remains a problem in the U.S.. Nicole Bednar looks at the president’s motivations to say we’re moving past the pandemic.
During CBS’s 60 Minute Interview, Biden said this.
Joe Biden: The pandemic is over.
Despite the President’s drastic change of tone on the pandemic, the White House has remained staunch in its COVID-19 policy with an emergency order and request for Congressional funds staying in place.
For some, Biden’s attempt at reducing the prevalence of COVID-19 appears as a political tactic for future gain.
Kammy Akhavan, Executive Director at USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future agrees with this.
KAMMY AKHAVAN: So politically, does it score many points? Yeah, I think it I think it does. I think it does not necessarily with his base, but his base is going to support him anyway. And if anything, it’ll convert a few moderates and conservatives to think that Joe Biden gets it.
These are political points that Biden seems to understand and use to his advantage. With less than 50 days till the Midterm Elections, Biden’s approval rates have increased substantially in recent months, hiking from 36% in July to 45% in September, according to a poll from the AP-NORC.
Akhavan isn’t the only person that believes that this is a political tactic. Irving Steinberg, the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Pediatrics at USC agrees and further believes that Biden’s statement is concerning.
IRVING STEINBERG: Well, this is where I think the messaging is really a little bit disturbing. First of all, you didn’t hear any of the medical leaders coming out and saying that the pandemic is over. So I have to consider it a pure political message.
Biden’s message also matches the American populations’ stance on the coronavirus, many of whom view the virus with less concern compared to the initial onset of the pandemic. Kammy Akhavan of the Dornsife Center for the Political Future comments on this.
AKHAVAN: But it’s also true that fewer numbers and a percentage of the American population is concerned about coronavirus. And that’s where we are. People just care less. They care less.
According to CDC, the COVID-19 rates of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations have all been on a declining trend. However the threats from covid are far from over. Data from the CDC show that hundreds of Americans die from Covid-related reasons every day with an average of around 1400 who died last month. Now, about 60,000 Americans test positive every day which is more than twice as many as last spring.
Just last Thursday, the head of the World Health Organization said that the end of the pandemic is in sight but that we’re not quite there yet.
AKHAVAN: The virus is going to do what the virus is going to do. And whatever Joe Biden calls it is not going to change that.
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