News Release

The Consequences of Biden’s Claim “the Pandemic Is Over”

Some public health experts expressed outrage this week after President Biden repeatedly asserted on CBS’s 60 Minutes that “the pandemic is over.” 

JOSH BAROCAS, MD; joshua.barocas@cuanschutz.edu, @jabarocas
    Barocas is an infectious disease doctor and the director of the Social Determinants of Health and Disparities Modeling Unit at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz School of Medicine. 

On Tuesday, Barocas wrote: “In the last few days it has been incredibly difficult to remain quiet. Biden’s declaration was extremely harmful on multiple levels.” Barocas said that he “understands that most Americans aren’t wearing masks” and that “most Americans are tired of the pandemic.” But from a “global perspective,” Barocas warns, “this was the wrong thing to say. Trump was criticized for being an isolationist––and rightfully so––but Biden’s declaration was the ultimate in isolationism. By declaring that the pandemic is ‘over,’ Biden signaled to global partners that the [U.S.] would no longer be involved in responses to a global pandemic. He disregarded the words of the WHO [World Health Organization].”

On Wednesday, Barocas told the Institute for Public Accuracy: “It appears that the Biden Administration is treating an infectious pandemic like a war. Infectious disease pandemics do not operate like global conflicts: A President does not have the authority to declare a global pandemic “over.” The virus simply doesn’t care what the President declares. Moreover, the President’s words have implications for how other countries respond and for the response within our own country.

“By essentially suggesting that ‘[the U.S. is] doing alright,’ the unstated part of that sentence is ‘and I’m sorry if your under-resourced country isn’t, but we’re stepping out of this.'”