Biden on ’60 Minutes’: ‘The pandemic is over’



CNN

President Joe Biden said he believed the Covid-19 pandemic was ‘over’ during an appearance on CBS’ ’60 Minutes’, but acknowledged the US still had a ‘problem’ with the virus that has killed more than a million Americans.

“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with Covid. We are still working on it a lot. It is – but the pandemic is over,” Biden said.

The US government still designates Covid-19 a public health emergency and the World Health Organization says it remains a public health emergency of international concern. But the president’s comments follow other hopeful comments from world health leaders.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, told a press conference last week that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic was “in sight” and that the world never been better placed to end the Covid. -19 pandemic.

“Last week, the number of weekly deaths reported by Covid-19 was the lowest since March 2020,” Ghebreyesus said. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight.

Last month, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adjusted its Covid-19 guidelines to urge the country to move away from measures such as quarantines and social distancing and instead focus on reducing serious illnesses from Covid-19. But the agency says some people, including those who are older, immunocompromised, have certain disabilities or underlying health conditions, are at higher risk for serious illness and may need to take more precautions.

There have been around 65,000 new cases of Covid-19 reported every day for the past two weeks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and reported cases are declining in nearly every state. In the United States, around 400 people die of Covid-19 every day. Although the official number of cases is far from representative of true levels of transmission, forecasts published by the CDC indicate that new hospitalizations and new deaths will remain stable next month.

For people hospitalized with Covid-19, the risk of death fell to an all-time low during the Omicron wave, according to a study published last week by the CDC. The researchers suggest that there were several factors contributing to the improved mortality risk: high levels of immunity, both from vaccination and from previous infection, advances in treatments and the properties of sub -variants of Omicron that made them less likely to cause disease.

The president told ’60 Minutes’ in the interview aired on Sunday that he hadn’t made a ‘firm decision’ on whether he would run for re-election in 2024, but said he had the intention to show up.

“Listen, my intention, as I said at the start, is that I will run again. But that’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to see,” Biden said.

The president said, “I’m a big acceptor of fate. And so, what I do is I do my job. I will do this job. And in the time frame that makes sense after this next election cycle here, as we approach next year, make a judgment call on what to do.

The president and senior administration officials have maintained that the president intends to run again in 2024, but Biden told ABC in December that would depend on his good health.

Biden told CBS he was not made aware of the contents of the documents that were removed from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence by the FBI in August, and said he didn’t want to interfere with the Justice Department’s potential actions.

“I didn’t ask for the details of these documents because I don’t want to find myself in the middle of the question of whether or not the Ministry of Justice should act or not on certain measures that it may take. I – I agreed not to tell them what to do and not, in fact, to commit to telling them how to sue or not,” Biden said.

The Justice Department removed 11 sets of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago while executing a search warrant for possible violations of the Espionage Act and other crimes, documents show judicial unsealed.

Asked about his reaction when he saw the photo taken by the FBI which showed a series of documents found on Trump’s property, Biden replied: “How could this happen? How could someone be so irresponsible? »

“And I thought what data was there that could compromise sources and methods? By that I mean the names of the people who helped or, et cetera. And that’s just, totally irresponsible,” Biden said.

Biden said no one informed him whether important national security secrets were exposed by the storage of these documents at the former president’s residence.

“I haven’t personally spoken to anyone about this – about this. I’m sure my administration is aware of all this, as is the National Security Council. But I didn’t,” Biden said.

The president also told CBS that US military personnel would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. The president was asked if “American forces, American men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion,” a prospect that US officials privately fear is becoming increasingly likely.

“Yes,” Biden replied.

This isn’t the first time Biden has gone beyond the US approach to “strategic ambiguity” when it comes to Taiwan. During a visit to Tokyo in May, Biden said the United States would intervene militarily if China tried to take Taiwan by force.

The White House has always said after Biden’s comments that US policy hasn’t changed, and “60 Minutes” reported receiving a response similar to Biden’s responses in their interview.

Under the “One China” policy, the United States recognizes China’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but has never officially recognized Beijing’s claim to the 23 million self-governing island. ‘inhabitants. Biden reiterated his commitment to these policies in the “60 Minutes” interview.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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