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Biden uses pandemic as tool of politics: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-09-22 21:14

US President Joe Biden. [Photo/Agencies]

In an interview on Sunday, US President Joe Biden announced "the pandemic is over".

A conclusion that surprised even his own senior health officials. "We are not where we need to be if we are going to quote 'live with the virus'," Anthony Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, said on Monday.

But although Biden admitted, "We still have a problem with COVID. We are still doing a lot of work on it", he was adamant "the pandemic is over".

Which is premature. As Fauci said, "We still must be aware of how unusual this virus is and continues to be in its ability to evolve into new variants which defy the standard public health mechanisms for addressing an outbreak."

Indeed, how this virus will mutate and how transmissible the new variants will be and how they will affect the health of those who are infected with them are still variables that need to be studied. There is still some way to go before it can be claimed with certainty that people can live with the virus.

Whatever was on Biden's mind when he announced the end of the pandemic, his remark will not instill in the American people the confidence they need in their country's response to the virus. Not least because the US, which boasts the most advanced healthcare system in the world and the most abundant medical resources, has done a very bad job in its response to COVID-19 with the largest number of infections and highest death toll.

The US Census Bureau's June to July 2022 Household Pulse Survey found that 16.3 million (about 8 percent) of working age Americans currently have long COVID. A report published by Brookings Metro, a non-profit research institution, revealed in August that an estimated 2 to 4 million Americans are out of work due to long COVID.

It is irresponsible for Biden to make such a remark. The pandemic is far from over, not least as far as the situation in the US is concerned. There were 73,861 newly confirmed cases in the country on Wednesday.

Maybe Biden meant to boost the morale of the American people or he was trying to promote the achievements his administration has made in its response to the pandemic.

But when there is still a great deal of work to do to develop vaccines and medicines so the world has the effective medical means to curb the spread of the virus and cure the disease the virus causes, it is meaningless and somewhat ridiculous for the leader of the US, the country which has been worst-hit by the pandemic, to claim the pandemic is over.

Biden will hardly achieve anything in any sense either domestically or internationally by making such an announcement. The world still needs to do what is necessary to claim victory against the virus.

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