“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. … But the pandemic is over,” Mr. Biden said.
In an interview done as he walked the floor of the Detroit Auto Show last week, the president gestured around the hall and observed, “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.”
Mr. Biden’s comments came only a few weeks after his administration asked Congress for billions of dollars to maintain its testing and vaccine programs through a potential fall COVID wave. But COVID restrictions have been largely eliminated in the U.S. and travel is back at pre-pandemic levels.
Still, the president pointed to the pandemic as a big reason his approval rating has been well below 50%.
“This is a really difficult time,” he remarked to CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley. “We’re at an inflection point in the history of this country. We’re gonna make decisions, and we’re making decisions now, that are gonna determine what we’re gonna look like the next ten years from now. I think you’d agree that the impact on the psyche of the American people as a consequence of the pandemic is profound.
“Think of how that has changed everything. You know, people’s attitudes about themselves, their families, about the state of the nation, about the state of their communities. And so there’s a lot of uncertainty out there, a great deal of uncertainty. And we lost a million people. A million people to COVID.
“When I got in office, when I– I got elected, only 2 million people had been vaccinated. I got 220 million– m– my point is it takes time. We were left in a very difficult situation. it’s been a very difficult time. Very difficult.”
Hundreds of deaths are still attributed to COVID every day in the U.S.