President Joe Biden on Tuesday revisited his recent remarks that the COVID-19 pandemic is over in the US
Speaking at a New York City fundraiser held for two Democratic groups and attended by celebrities including Robert De Niro, the president encouraged attendees to get vaccinated, reassuringly on COVID-19.
“By the way, if you haven’t got your boosters, get them,” Biden told about 100 participants, according to Bloomberg.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month approved an updated booster shot targeting Omicron, which includes the more recent subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
But the White House is reportedly concerned that Biden’s comments over the weekend could “complicate” efforts to get Americans vaccinated this fall, according to Politico.
“We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still working a lot on it… but the pandemic is over,” Biden told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in a segment that aired on Sunday.
On Tuesday, Biden shrugged off those comments, saying the US is actually in a much better place to fight COVID-19 this time.
“It’s basically not where it was,” he said of the pandemic, according to Bloomberg.
The US has recorded more than 379,000 cases and 2,490 deaths in the past seven days as of Tuesday, according to CDC data.
The CDC said more than 67% of Americans have been fully vaccinated by September 14.
Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Monday that the intensity of the outbreak still remained “unacceptably high.”
The president’s pandemic statement over the weekend was seen uncomfortably by his Democratic allies, but he also caught the attention of Republican lawmakers, who seized the opportunity to question the need for additional COVID-19 funding.
“If it’s over, I wouldn’t doubt they need more money,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told CNN.
In addition to COVID though, Biden also politicized Tuesday’s fundraiser, reiterating his warning that the top priority at the moment is the midterm election in November.
“They take the House and Senate again, we’ll have a different world,” Biden said. “I’ll spend all my time with Vito Penn.”
Democrats are hoping the party pulls off a string of legislative victories this summer, including the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as the running weak Trump-backed Republican nominee in key states, winning the race for control. can help them. House and Senate which usually favor the party out of power.
Falling gas prices even for Democrats and Roe v. Wade’s reversal, which energizes voters in support of abortion rights.
According to polling aggregation website FiveThirtyEight, polling shows Democrats favor retaining the Senate, but still face an uphill battle in the House, even if their odds have improved.
The president is expected to address the UN General Assembly on Wednesday morning.