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The coronavirus has plagued the world in waves since the pandemic first prompted worldwide shutdowns in March 2020.
The delta variant and the most recent omicron variant have raised questions about whether living with the virus is the “new normal.”
President Biden listens to a reporter’s question after delivering remarks at the White House. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“COVID, as we’re dealing with it now, is not here to stay,” Biden said. But he added, “COVID in the environment, here in the world, is probably here to stay.”
The president said the world is better equipped to counter the virus than ever before due to vaccines and testing abilities.
“We have so many more tools we’re developing and continuing to develop that will contain COVID and other strains of COVID. We’re very different today than we were a year ago,” he said.
The president’s comments show a slight change in tone from his previous assertion that he was going to “beat” the virus and comes just one day after six of his former health advisers called on him to change his COVID strategy.
People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing site in New York’s Times Square. More than a year after the vaccine was rolled out, new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have soared to their highest level.
In a series of opinion articles posted in The Journal of the American Medical Association, advisers who worked on Biden’s transition team urged him to adjust his domestic message and gear a strategy that looks at living with the virus as opposed to eradicating it.
“Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity,” Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm and Celine Gounder wrote. “Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination.”
The group of doctors argued the “new normal” should recognize that “COVID-19 must now be considered among the risks posed by all respiratory viral illnesses combined.”
President Biden delivers remarks State Dining Room of the White House. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Biden did not say whether his administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would be updating their approach to the virus but said, “We’re going to be able to control this.”
“The new normal is not going to be what it is now – it’s going to be better,” he added.