“For most Americans, one COVID shot each year will be all they need,” Biden said. “You’re going to get this protection once a year, like we do with the flu shot,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre echoed.
While taking credit for great strides against the virus, the Biden administration has continued to cite the pandemic when exercising emergency powers, such as the legal basis for a student loan debt forgiveness plan.
At other times, the Biden administration has been eager to turn the page on the pandemic. This was true of the Title 42 immigration rule used to keep migrants out of the country during the outbreak. The White House is also claiming credit for the reopening of schools.
Biden himself said the pandemic was “over” in a recent interview with 60 Minutes, while calling it a “global health emergency” on Tuesday.
“We cannot forget that COVID is still a problem,” Jean-Pierre told reporters at Tuesday’s White House briefing. Both she and COVID response coordinator Ashish Jha denied any inconsistency in how the administration was dealing with the pandemic.
Biden said earlier Tuesday that the inconsistency was the Republicans.
“Some members of Congress say they [do] want to move beyond COVID, but they don’t want to spend the money to do it,” he said, once again asking for more funds. “We can’t have it both ways.”
The pandemic was a big factor in Biden’s 2020 presidential victory. He won voters whose top issue was the coronavirus as well as those who prioritized controlling the virus over reopening the economy by over 60 points each.
As reopening has continued, however, some pandemic mitigation measures have come under renewed scrutiny. The Nation’s Report Card, for example, detailed alarming setbacks in math and reading during the time period when schools were closed to contain the virus.