'The pandemic is over,' Biden says 

President Joe Biden said the COVID-19 pandemic is "over" in the United States in an interview on CBS News' 60 Minutes that aired Sept. 18. 

"The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lotta work on it," President Biden said in the interview, which was conducted as he walked the floor of the Detroit Auto Show last week. "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."

Fewer than 70,000 coronavirus cases are currently announced each day in the U.S., the lowest level seen since early May, and fewer than 35,000 people are currently in American hospitals with COVID-19 daily. The daily average number of deaths from COVID-19 was 464 at the time the president's interview aired, according to data from The New York Times

The president's declaration followed the World Health Organization's signaling of the pandemic's wind-down with new weekly COVID-19 deaths at their lowest point globally since the start of the pandemic. 

"We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said Sept. 14. "We are not there yet, but the end is in sight." 

Policywise, HHS is still set to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency by its standing deadline of Oct. 13. HHS last renewed the PHE July 15 for another increment of 90 days with a pledge to provide states with 60 days' notice if it decided to terminate the declaration or allow it to expire. Aug. 14, the date in which states would have 60 days' notice, came and went without updates or notifications from the agency, suggesting the declaration will extend.

This would make for the 11th renewal of the PHE since its declaration in January 2020 by former and current HHS secretaries Alex Azar and Xavier Becerra, respectively. The renewal would occur as HHS plans to shift costs of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to the commercial market, a process beginning this fall that is expected to take months.

 

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