Fauci Rushes Out To Walk Back Biden Declaration That Pandemic Is Over

In an interview that was little more than a series of softball underhand tosses, Joe Biden stumbled his way through his presentation on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday evening that included a flat declaration that the COVID-19 pandemic is “over.” Along with other White House officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci jumped out quickly to walk back the president’s statement.

Fauci appeared Monday to throw cold water on Biden’s statement, saying that while “the worst of the coronavirus is over,” the government must still be concerned.

Fauci told reporters with Politico that what Biden “really meant” is that the “very severe stage of the pandemic is no longer present.” He added that although the country is no longer experiencing “3,000 deaths a day, people should not be cavalier that we’re out of the woods.”

Two senior administration officials told the outlet that they were taken by surprise at Biden’s claim, and added that many in the White House only learned what the president had said from news reports and Twitter. Biden did not discuss breaking major COVID news with his health advisors before the interview broadcast on Sunday.

Biden was speaking optimistically on Sunday about the first Detroit Auto Show to be held in three years, and still said that COVID is still a problem, and “we’re still doing a lot of work on it.”

“But the pandemic is over,” he added.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) led an immediate flurry of Republican responses to Biden’s claim, asking the president in a letter if he is planning now to end White House programs and policies related to the now-ended pandemic.

The Biden administration has been very recently pushing Congress to approve another $22 billion in federal spending for “COVID relief,” even as rampant inflation has been hammering the nation from months on end.

Burr specifically asked about the status of Stafford Act and National Emergencies Act declarations, vaccination requirements for federal workers, and pandemic-related recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) joined with Fauci in attempting to soften Biden’s claim on Monday. Khanna told Fox News, “I think what the president was trying to say is that the worst of the pandemic is over.”

Khanna added, “I don’t think we can be complacent about it, but what he was trying to say is life has largely returned to normal.”