On Sunday Sept. 18, President Joe Biden told Scott Pelly, a reporter for 60 Minutes, that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Biden told Pelly, “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over.”
President Biden says that most people are in good shape and have stopped wearing masks. The number of cases have been dropping after a peak in January. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not stated the pandemic has ended, they have lightened restrictions on COVID-19 for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans.
It really does look like the pandemic is over; however, even with all of this good news, some people say the pandemic is not over. It is possible that Biden is missing the big picture.
From Aug. 16 to Sept. 17, there were 19.4 million new cases worldwide. The U.S. had a three percent increase in cases during this time as well. That hardly seems like it’s over.
It appears that Biden’s statement is not supported by public health experts.
Brown University’s school of public health chair Dr. Megan Ranney was not pleased with Biden’s statement. She said on her Twitter account that 400 people die everyday due to the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told National Public Radio (NPR), “How we respond and how we’re prepared for the evolution of these variants is going to depend on us and that gets to the other conflicting aspect of this – is the lack of a uniform acceptance of the interventions that are available in this country.”
Maria Lopez of Neurology Advisor wrote that there were more symptoms lasting at least four weeks following an infection in the Delta variant than in the Omicron variant. It is true that variants of the virus are evolving to become more infectious; although, as the variants become more infectious, the symptoms of the disease do not last as long. Getting vaccinated helps the illness become less severe.
This does not mean that Omicron is harmless, it is just a lot less likely to cause harm, especially with 68.3 percent of the U.S. population being fully vaccinated according to Our World in Data. It really does look like there is a lot less to worry about.
While there are still a lot of cases and deaths, there are fewer cases and deaths than at its peak in January. This decrease is not nothing, it is a huge decrease from where the country was during the peak. How little does the count for cases and death have to be before you can declare the pandemic over?
While we still have a lot more work to do to fully combat the virus, it seems that Biden is right that the pandemic is over. Of course, you should still stay safe and look out for symptoms, but this is also true of any other disease.
Nico Brazill can be contacted