Biden says the pandemic is over. Is it?

In the US, 400 people still die from Covid every day.

This week, both my kids finally took off their masks at school. Every single day since they returned to school after 540 days of online schooling, they have attended PE, sat in their classrooms, had recess – with masks on.

Since masks have been part of a highly controversial, heated debate and are a symbol of where you stand politically, our advice to the kids has been to do what made them feel comfortable – wearing a mask became so much more than just an expression of wanting to protect one’s classmates.

I have previously been almost a religious fanatic when it came to wearing a mask in public. Now I shop, go to parent meetings, and have a social life again – without wearing a face mask.

Joe Biden was asked by a CBS journalist on “60 Minutes” whether the pandemic was over in the United States. He was in Detroit attending North America’s largest auto show. Biden’s response? “We still have problems with covid … but the pandemic is over,” he said. But that is simply not true. The United States is still under a “public health emergency,” which the country has been under since January 2020.

The timing couldn’t be worse as health officials are trying to convince the American population to take the latest Covid booster shot that specifically targets the Omicron variant. At the same time, the White House is trying to get Congress to approve 22 billion dollars for Covid prevention.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, the WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, last week. But in the same statement, he encouraged nations of the world to still be vigilant.

More than six and a half million people have died from Covid, more than one million this year alone, including my own uncle in Copenhagen in July. In the US, 400 people die from Covid every single day, and 4,300 are hospitalized.

Biden has a a bad habit of saying things that the White House staff then has to walk back. It is, at best, an unfortunate statement from the American president, because such announcements can complicate the fight against Covid. It makes me nervous to think about the consequences of Biden’s statements. Will fewer people go and get their Omicron booster shots? I wouldn´t be surprised if some people think: Why should I get the vaccine if the pandemic is over?

And if the boss of all declares the pandemic over, why would the Republican politicians needed to get a majority want to vote in alliance with their Democratic colleagues in Congress to allocate more tax dollars aimed to deal with Covid in the form of vaccinations, testing and research? There is not much historic data about Covid, yet, but we do know one thing now – the numbers of positive cases increase when people’s social lives move indoors. Officials in the healthcare sector report that there are not enough economic funds allocated to handle the raise the expected positive Covid cases in the autumn.

A pandemic does not go from 100 to 0 – I wish that was the case, because that would make it so much easier to communicate a message and for the population to understand. Meanwhile, each individual citizen interprets the situation according to his or her own best judgment.

Yesterday I attended yet another parent meeting, they seem to be never ending these weeks. For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, everything has moved from Zoom meetings to be held in person. About half of the parents wore masks, I did not.

I have previously been almost a religious fanatic when it came to wearing a mask in public. Now I shop, attend parent meetings, and have a social life again – without wearing a face mask. The pandemic is not over – it is just under control. But continuous control requires that we keep taking it seriously while living our lives without having to endure too many restrictions.

Maybe that’s what Biden was trying to say?

___

Coronapandemien er slut, siger Biden – men er den det?

I USA dør der stadig 400 af covid om dagen.

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