"We still have a problem with COVID," Biden told CBS News reporter Scott Pelley. "We're still doing a lot of work on it… but the pandemic is over."
First off, it's worth noting that Biden is disagreeing with his own CDC, which is still using the word "pandemic." The context of the remark was also striking, coming as the president made his way through last week's Detroit auto show. The event, which used to be an annual affair, hadn't taken place since 2019; three years later, the cars and the crowds were back, with little to no restrictions and hardly a mask in sight.
"If you notice, no one's wearing masks," the President continued as he and Pelley walked through the automotive spectacle. "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."
To Biden's credit, it's certainly true that we're at a different point in the pandemic. The general expert consensus seems to be that COVID-related restrictions will continue to subside, and while we'll continue to live with the virus, the focus will stay on preventing severe illness rather than halting the spread of the virus altogether. We'd also agree with Biden that the Detroit auto show is a pretty good example of the stage in the pandemic that we're currently in. But the fact that we're in a better place with the virus doesn't necessarily mean we're entirely in the clear. More than ten thousand Americans are still dying from COVID every month, and the specter of the upcoming cold and flu season looms large — a reality that the Biden administration reiterated as recently as earlier this month.
A statement with that degree of public impact would normally be announced in a formal address, like one made from the Oval Office—or, at least, not as an off-the-cuff remark during a riff during a tour of an auto show. But even if Biden’s announcement that the pandemic was over hadn’t been so casual, many public health experts and pandemic authorities worry that Biden’s assertion is exactly the opposite of what the country needs to hear right now.
“The pandemic is far from over, and by suggesting it is, the president is inviting the public to just move on,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law Center, who expressed deep concern that Biden’s remarks will further persuade the American public that “sensible precautions” need no longer be taken.
NPR, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post. You know who's not calling him out? As my son Mike noted earlier tonight, "Joe Biden's an idiot, by the way. He's rightly experiencing the closest thing to pushback that he's had since being elected. Not from THE PROGRESSIVE or IN THESE TIMES or any of the so-called 'progressive' outlets -- they're all a bunch of assholes who can't tell the truth."
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday:
Tuesday, September 20, 2022. Joe Biden piles on the make up for a 60 MINUTES fluff job, as Iraq still fails to form a government climate change gets worse, and much more.
Scott Pelley slobbered over Joe Biden on 60 MINUTES Sunday. He was full of nonsense and lies. He started off bragging about Joe giving us cheaper drugs prices. When, Pelley? If it happens -- if -- it won't be until 2025. Scott's a nasty little whore, riddled with diseases. He's spent over 30 years repeatedly failing at CBS NEWS but at least they finally learned how to shoot that huge forehead so he doesn't look like he just stepped off the set of MARS ATTACKS!
You shouldn't comment on the interview without first noting that outside of an aging drag queen, no man Joe's age has ever worn so much make up.
They pretend to discuss the economy. They don't. Pelley doesn't ask about the US military needing to go on food stamps under Joe, for example. They don't deal with reality at all, just Joe's elderly delusions.
At WSWS, Joseph Scalice notes:
In the space of 25 minutes, Biden made a series of extraordinary statements. He declared that the COVID-19 pandemic was “over”; announced his “ironclad commitment” to backing war against Russia, while acknowledging this contained the possibility of nuclear war; and pledged US forces to a possible war with China.
It has been over 200 days since Biden last sat down for an interview with a television journalist. Much has changed. The US and NATO provoked war with Russia in Ukraine and have escalated the conflict with massive tranches of military aid and direct involvement, overseeing and planning the movement of troops and the targeting of missiles. The eastern and southern portions of Ukraine invaded by Russia have become the concentrated site of an expanding third world war.
Mass inflation has gripped the globe. The prices of basic necessities have soared beyond the reach of the working class. Workers in Europe face the prospect of a freezing winter, unable to afford heat; workers in the United States struggle to pay rent. The stock market is turbulent, and its future looks grim. Most significantly, the struggles of the working class against capitalism are coming into the open, are growing rapidly and are taking an increasingly political form.
American capitalism is at war with reality, and nowhere is this more openly embodied than in its President Joe Biden. He acknowledged the gravity of the situation declaring, “This is a really difficult time. We’re at an inflection point in the history of this country.” At the same time, and without any justification, Biden announced, “I’m more optimistic than I’ve been in a long time.”
The American ruling class’s delusions and its grotesque indifference to the lives of workers was summed up in Biden’s statement on the pandemic. One million Americans had died. Biden pulled a long face at this but declared, “The pandemic is over ... the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape.”
The 1 million COVID-19 deaths in the United States were, in their overwhelming majority, preventable. Biden, like his predecessor Trump, would take none of the necessary public health measures to isolate the virus and prevent its spread. Such measures threatened the profits of American businesses. America led the ruling classes of the world in embracing the pandemic and accepting mass death.
Now, as 3,000 Americans die of COVID-19 every week, Biden declares the pandemic is over. He celebrates the fact, the direct result of his own criminal policies, that people are not wearing masks. The death and infection rate data can no longer be considered reliable. The dead and infected, those suffering the terrible consequences of Long COVID, are being shoved into the ranks of the countless uncounted, and the pandemic declared to be at an end.
Biden’s statement, “Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape,” erases the experience of millions of people with Long COVID. According to a recent report from the Brookings Institution, roughly 4 million people suffering from Long COVID have left the workforce.
The extraordinary statement that “the pandemic is over”—which can be compared to George W. Bush’s infamous “mission accomplished” speech in the initial phases of the Iraq war—also ignores the ongoing and persistent danger of viral evolution. Recent studies indicate that new, highly mutated variants of COVID-19 appear almost every week, with increasing immune-escape potential.
Trina also called out the nonsense of the pandemic is over and contrasts that with the prospect in the UK where they are bracing for a "twindemic" -- where COVID 19 and the flu create a combined health crisis. Joe is not fit to be president. Kenny Stancil (COMMON DREAMS) observes:
President Joe Biden's fresh assertion that "the pandemic is over"—a claim made as Covid-19 kills roughly 3,000 people each week in the U.S. alone—is being criticized by progressive commentators and medical experts who argue that such "false declarations" undermine support for public health measures and bolster the GOP's effort to nix funding for vaccines, tests, and treatments.
"We still have a problem with Covid," Biden acknowledged in a "60 Minutes" interview aired on Sunday night. "We're still doing a lotta work on it."
"But the pandemic is over," the president added. "If you notice, no one's wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it's changing."
According to artist and writer Artie Vierkant, it's difficult to think of a clearer example of "the sociological production of the end of the pandemic" than the exchange between Biden and CBS' Scott Pelley, which took place last week during Detroit's first annual auto show since 2019.
A right-wing judge appointed by former President Donald Trump struck down the federal mask mandate for public transportation in April, but as MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan pointed out Sunday, another key reason why most Americans have foregone masks in nearly all settings is "because people like Biden keep (falsely) telling them the pandemic is over."
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University, asked on social media, "How do you convince Americans to get boosted again when the president declares the Covid pandemic 'is over'?"
The U.S. already has one of the lowest Covid-19 vaccination rates among high-income countries, and booster uptake has been especially low. While pervasive right-wing anti-science campaigns are certainly to blame, so too is the nation's deadly for-profit healthcare model as well as mixed messaging that downplays the pandemic.
Coronavirus mortality in the U.S. has decreased substantially since early in Biden's term when more than 3,000 people were dying every day. That decline is inseparable from the increased availability of vaccines, tests, and treatments made possible by robust government funding.
But roughly 400 people around the country continue to die from Covid-19 each day, tens of thousands are hospitalized, transmission remains high, and the White House is bracing for a potential surge in infections this fall—as money to address the ongoing crisis is drying up with no replenishments in sight.
"What's ending here," tweeted University of Washington medical anthropologist Nora Kenworthy, "is political commitment and funding, not cases or deaths."
Walter Bragman Tweets:
CBC's Katie Simpson Tweets:
The corupt governments always mislead and harm the people. Alannah Travers (ALJAZEERA) reports:
“The government doesn’t care, they are useless, and political parties are fighting for power for themselves,” said Nada, aged 27, over a coffee in Baghdad’s Karrada district, reflecting on the past few tumultuous weeks – and years – of Iraq’s political crisis. “We have nothing to lose any more,” she added, referring to youth-led demonstrations. “We need to be braver … we need to wake up, no one speaks for us anyway.”
A part-time volunteer for autistic children, Nada’s view was shared by the other young activists around the table on the top floor of a smoke-filled cafe.
The group is discussing plans to mark the second anniversary of Iraq’s Tishreen protest movement, and how best to fix Iraq’s deep-seated political malaise after some of the deadliest clashes Iraq has seen in years took place in Baghdad at the end of August.
“Tishreen will be back even bigger soon, I promise you,” Nada said confidently. On the opposite end of the table, two men in their early thirties shake their heads at plans to demonstrate on the same scale. “We have lost too many friends to try again,” one of them, Rami, said. “Maybe in a few years.”
“I feel lost – like all Iraqi people – we don’t know what our future will be, not even the coming days,” 26-year-old Muser chips in. “Everything is on the edge,” he says as he describes a conversation on his way to our meeting place. “Even the taxi drivers are tense, asking if there will be a solution or a civil war… Iraqis are worried and tired.”
Many young Iraqis feel they have no say in the direction of their country’s future.
Exhausted by Iraq’s ongoing political drama, and raised alongside a series of deeply traumatic events, they are caught in the middle of vying political groups and militias that they say do not represent them.
The failed state of Iraq. October 10th, elections were held. All this time later, no president, no prime minister. 20 days away from a full year since people turned out to vote. A corrupt state, a failed state. RUDAW reports:
There is a possibility for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to present a joint candidate in the
Iraqi parliament, a KDP official told Rudaw on Monday.
“The atmosphere between the KDP and PUK is very good and they may enter the [next] parliamentary session with a single common candidate,” Bangin Rekani, a member of the KDP’s negotiating team in Baghdad told Rudaw’s Sangar Abdulrahman, adding that the atmosphere between the two Kurdish parties is “very good.”
Rekani believes that the existing “minor” issues between both parties can be resolved if a meeting occurs between KDP Vice President Nechirvan Barzani and PUK head Bafel Talabani.
Talabani conveyed to the KDP his intention of agreeing on a joint candidate for parliament, according to the KDP official.
As the government dithers, Iraq loses more and more each day. PHYSORG notes:
It was the river that is said to have watered the biblical Garden of Eden and helped give birth to civilisation itself.
But today the Tigris is dying.
Human activity and climate change have choked its once mighty flow through Iraq, where—with its twin river the Euphrates—it made Mesopotamia a cradle of civilisation thousands of years ago.
Iraq may be oil-rich but the country is plagued by poverty after decades of war and by droughts and desertification.
Battered by one natural disaster after another, it is one of the five countries most exposed to climate change, according to the UN.
From April on, temperatures exceed 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and intense sandstorms often turn the sky orange, covering the country in a film of dust.
Hellish summers see the mercury top a blistering 50 degrees Celsius—near the limit of human endurance—with frequent power cuts shutting down air-conditioning for millions.
The Tigris, the lifeline connecting the storied cities of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra, has been choked by dams, most of them upstream in Turkey, and falling rainfall.
Iraq is suffering from climate change.
Let's wrap up with Margaret Kimberley.
The following sites updated: