Is the Pandemic Really Over? Op-ed


President Joe Biden announced in a 60 Minutes interview on September 17th that the Covid-19 pandemic is over, stating: “If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape, and so I think it’s changing.” Does this declaration really mean the end of a global pandemic? With a daily average of 50,000 cases in the U.S. alone, and the Biden administration seeking over $20 billion in pandemic aid, proclaiming that the slow in infection numbers means we can call the pandemic “over” is counter-revolutionary. While we have come a long way in slowing the rate of infection, it doesn’t mean that Covid has disappeared. People are still getting sick and still dying, calling the pandemic over is only going to cause an increase in cases. Biden’s declaration on the status of the Covid-19 pandemic was premature and could have negative impacts on the health of U.S. citizens as winter approaches.


But what do health experts think about Biden’s claim? William Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard says, “This ended pandemic is still three times as bad as something we would ordinarily consider pretty bad, and I think that’s important, especially because we expect cases to tick up in the fall and the winter.” Michelle Williams, Dean of Public Health at Harvard states, “If we accept the status quo as background noise—rather than the urgent and immediate threat it represents—it’s nearly impossible to make the case that we need to do more as a society to protect the vulnerable, respond to surges, or prepare for future crises.” Many health officials, the people most educated in public health and safety, are opposed to Biden’s declaration, labeling it as unsafe and irresponsible.


While everyone can agree that living in a pandemic is frustrating and life-altering, prematurely putting an end to it will not make it go away faster. Keeping ourselves and our community safe is the number one priority and we must work together in fighting the pandemic if we want our lives to go back to normal.