CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky has clashed with Joe Biden’s assertion the pandemic is over – saying just that ‘we’re in a different place’.
Speaking with ABC News, Walensky refused to agree with Biden’s declaration that the pandemic is in the rear view mirror but she did acknowledge how hospitalization and case rates were falling thanks to the wide availability of vaccines.
Biden made his remarks during his appearance on CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday.
‘The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it, but the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks.
‘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,’ Biden said while walking around the Detroit Auto Show last week – an event which drew thousands of visitors.
Director Walensky was careful to choose her words during the interview: ‘I think if we look at the big picture, things are very different. We’re in a different place. Schools are open and businesses are open. We have a lot of population immunity out there right now.’
However, she noted that with hundreds of Americans still dying from the virus, the fatality rate was still too high.
‘We will be ready to step up to the plate,’ she said.
‘We’ve seen time and time again is [that] our vaccines are working pretty well against severe disease, hospitalization and death, even when variants emerge, which is why it’s so very important to go ahead and get your updated vaccine now,’ Walensky encouraged.
Walsnsky has also suggested that people get their flu shot with fears of a severe influenza season.
‘We know over the last several years is some people did not elect to get their flu shot. We’ve had decreased rates of flu over the last several years and probably due to many of the mitigation strategies that we have in place for COVID. When that happens, we have decreased levels of population immunity, which raises the concern that the next year, you might have a higher, larger flu challenge. We can’t predict what a flu season will look like, but we have concerns.’
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