President Joe Biden said he believes the “new normal” brought by the Covid-19 outbreak will eventually let up, offering some optimism about the pandemic while arguing the US is already in a much better place than it was in 2021.
“Covid as we are dealing with it now is not going to stay,” Biden told reporters on Friday, adding that the US has “so many more tools we are developing and continue to develop” to suppress the virus.
The president argued that the US is currently in a better position compared to last year, with 90% of schools remaining open despite a new wave of Covid infections caused by the Omicron variant. Biden stated that was only possible because his administration has spent the necessary “time and money” on solutions, highlighting 11 million daily coronavirus tests as part of that policy.
“The new normal is not going to be what it is now, it’s going to be better,” the president continued.
Biden’s statement came after six of his former health advisers published a number of critical articles calling for a complete overhaul of the federal Covid strategy, also urging Washington to acknowledge that the virus will be around indefinitely, and to adapt to that reality.
“As the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay,” the former advisers argued in one of the articles, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The ex-officials stressed that “policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public,” especially as Omicron is fueling concerns “about a perpetual state of emergency.” They also said the Biden team should approach the issue with “humility,” noting there is still much to learn about the virus, as well as vaccines and treatments.
The US has registered more than 59 million coronavirus infections since the pandemic began in late 2019, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University. As the more transmissible Omicron strain quickly makes the rounds, the country smashed world case records earlier this week, reporting more than 1 million infections in a single day. Early research into the latest variant, however, suggests it is less deadly than previous mutations.