President Joe Biden said the COVID-19 pandemic is "over," but acknowledged the U.S. still has a “problem” with the virus that has killed more than 1 million Americans.
In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Biden said "we're still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over."
"If you notice, no one's wearing masks," Biden said from the floor of the Detroit Auto Show in Michigan. "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."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped COVID-19 quarantine and distancing recommendations last month. And more people have returned to pre-pandemic activities.
Biden's comments come days after the head of the World Health Organization announced the number of coronavirus deaths worldwide recently reached the lowest reported in the pandemic since March 2020, marking what could be a turning point in the years-long global outbreak.
“We are not there yet, but the end is in sight,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, comparing the effort to that made by a marathon runner nearing the finish line. “Now is the worst time to stop running,” he said. “Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap all the rewards of our hard work.”
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Still, U.S. COVID deaths have averaged more than 500 a day over the last two weeks, according to NBC News’ tally.
At the same time, Biden's own administration is seeking an additional $22.4 billion from Congress to keep funding testing and vaccination efforts in the U.S.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said COVID-19 will likely be with us for the rest of our lives, with experts expecting it will become an endemic, meaning it occurs regularly in certain areas according to established patterns.