President Biden’s declaration that the pandemic is over could make it increasingly difficult for his own administration to fight COVID-19.
During an interview with 60-minutes on Sunday he said, “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.”
Just last week, WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “the end is in sight” for the COVID-19 pandemic though nearly 400 people are dying each day from the coronavirus, according to the CDC.
But the President’s remarks may have complicated his own administration’s efforts to obtain $22.4 billion from Congress to keep funding the fight against COVID. The funds would be used to help ramp up research and development of vaccines and therapeutics to keep up with the ever-evolving virus.
The administration made a similar request in spring of this year. They warned that without approval from Congress the federal government would be unable to support vaccine development, threaten free vaccines and hinder global vaccination efforts. Republicans opposed the spending and the funding was never approved.
With the request back on the table, Republicans have been swift to use the President’s own words against him to question vaccine mandates that are still in place for federally funded programs, other administration initiatives and even his plan to forgive up to $10,000 in student loans.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee tweeted, “Biden admitted last night that the COVID pandemic is over. In other words, there is no ‘ongoing emergency’ to justify his proposal for student loan handouts.”
His comments have even left his own party divided as some Democrats agree that we are no longer in the same situation we were in two years ago, and that moving ahead is what is best for the nation.
While others have been quick to note COVID is still very much a concern. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia told ABC News on Monday, “I don’t know what he meant — some people use ‘pandemic’ or ‘epidemic’ or other phrases. And he said that COVID isn’t over, the pandemic is over. But the way I look at it, COVID isn’t over.”
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