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Monday, February 6, 2023

Biden tries to defeat the resurgent virus again

WASHINGTON – The latest outbreak of the coronavirus is another reminder to President Biden of how difficult it is to stay ahead of a pandemic.

Vaccine efficacy has declined under pressure from Delta and Omicron. The surge in demand for testing puts a heavy load on the system. Masks remain a political issue across the country.

Almost a year after his presidency, Biden’s promise to “stop the virus, not the country” remains only partially fulfilled. The stubborn resistance to millions of vaccines and the emergence of a rapidly spreading new version have turned the president’s plans for a promising year-end holiday.

Just a week before Christmas, Mr. Biden had to issue a grim warning.

“We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death – if you are not vaccinated – for themselves, their families and the hospitals that they will soon overflow,” Biden said at the White House on Thursday. “The thing is, Omicron is here, it will start spreading much faster at the beginning of the year, and the only real defense is to get your shots.”

The release of dire new warnings is not something that Mr. Biden or his top advisers expected at this point in the year.

The plan was to suppress the virus with vaccines that would almost stop its spread and allow the country to fully open up. In July, Mr. Biden went so far as to declare a nation close to “independence from the deadly virus.” When the Delta Option denied these plans, Mr. Biden stepped up efforts to vaccinate and revaccinate as many Americans as possible. …

But by the end of this week, some schools, restaurants and theaters had closed, and many Americans felt they were back where they started two years ago. Mr Biden’s health advisers have gone out of their way to paint a brighter picture.

“Unlike last winter, we now have the opportunity to protect ourselves,” Jeff Zientes, President’s Coronavirus Coordinator, told reporters. “Our vaccines work against Omicron, especially for people who get boosted when they are eligible.”

Rochelle Walenski, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that when vaccinated people get sick from Omicron, “these cases are milder or asymptomatic.”

These assurances have done little to help Mr. Biden politically, as the pandemic, entering its third year, continues to weigh on his presidency.

The third – and most important – item on his economic agenda has stalled in Congress due to ongoing battles in his own party. Mr Biden’s pledge to protect voting rights through legislation continues to fall short of the votes it needs to be passed. And his pledge to finally offer a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants this week suffered another setback by a Senate MP.

Perhaps most ominously, Mr Biden will enter 2022, the year of the midterm elections, amid growing economic concerns, just as he hoped a retreat from the pandemic would improve the mindset of voters. Unemployment is close to record lows, but rising inflation, due in part to the pandemic’s supply chain problems and constrained consumer demand, is displeasing Mr Biden.

A recent NBC News poll found that only 37 percent of Americans approve of the president’s handling of the economy, while 56 percent disapprove. An ABC / IPSOS poll showed similar results, with more than two-thirds saying they disapprove of the president’s handling of inflation.

White House officials have repeatedly said they believe public opinion about their dire economic plight has been shaped – and tainted – by the pandemic. When asked why so many people disapprove of the president’s economic policies, Jen Psaki, a White House spokeswoman, blamed what she called viral fatigue.

“We are still at the epicenter of the fight against the global pandemic and people are tired of it; neither do we, ”she told reporters at a recent White House briefing. “And it affects the way people live their lives, their fear of sending their children out the door or going to work.”

The president’s plan to tackle the winter wave includes booster vaccinations for all adults, expanding home health insurance coverage, tightening rules for international travel, and using new antiviral pills to prevent hospitalizations. and renewed efforts to keep schools open.

On Friday, the CDC announced a new policy under which even unvaccinated students exposed to the virus can remain in school as long as they test negative twice on days after infection. The so-called stay screening protocol is designed to help the nation’s schools stay open during the latest spike.

All Mr. Biden has to do is double down on the approach he has taken for most of the year: pleading with Americans to get vaccinated.

“Go take a picture today,” he said Thursday. “Go get a boost if you fired the first two shots. If not, take the first shot. It’s time. It’s time. Time has passed. And we’re going to protect our economic recovery if we do. If we do this, we will keep schools and businesses open. And I want everyone around to enjoy it. I want them to enjoy the fact that they can go to school, that businesses are open, and that the holidays are coming. “

The question for Mr Biden and his team is whether what they are doing can help calm the psyche of Americans preparing for potentially large months of Zoom meetings, canceled sports games and masks.

At his Friday briefing, Mr Zient sought to reassure the public that “now is not the time to panic because we know how to protect people and we have the tools to do so.”

“But,” he added, “we need the American people to do their part.”

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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