President Biden claimed the COVID-19 pandemic is “over” during an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday, sparking intense backlash from both conservative and liberal voices across social media who called out his administration’s recent mixed messaging.
“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,” Biden told CBS correspondent Scott Pelley during his appearance.
The president’s words triggered criticism over his COVID emergency power usage, mask-wearing and ongoing mask and vaccine mandates across the U.S., with conservatives slamming his alleged overreaching power and leftists criticizing the “irresponsible” claim.
“Left wingers are going to be furious at him for this, but this is also interesting because less than a month ago he justified canceling a trillion dollars in student loans by citing his covid emergency powers,” OutKick founder Clay Travis tweeted late Sunday.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., offered a similar critique, writing, “If “the pandemic is over” as Biden says, then all of the President’s emergency powers predicated on a pandemic, all COVID vax mandates, the emergency powers of every governor, Emergency Use Authorizations, and the PREP act should all be voided tomorrow.”
Biden also garnered criticism for choosing to mask up in recent weeks, a move contradicting his claim.
Conservative radio host Buck Sexton tweeted screenshots of a Daily Mail article featuring a masked Biden, tacking on the critique that he wore masks outdoors as recent as two weeks ago.
“Your reminder that Biden was wearing masks outside *2 WEEKS AGO* but is now saying the pandemic is “over” because the election is coming up and he is completely full of crap.”
National Review senior writer Charles C.W. Cooke reflected on Biden’s calls to end Title 42 earlier this year, saying his declaration “confirms the illegality of his attempt to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars of student debt to the taxpayer.”
Other conservative critics asked why emergency orders are still in effect in several U.S. states, children are still being masked in public schools and unvaccinated children are prohibited from playing sports in certain areas if the pandemic is over.
Left-leaning critics, frustrated by Biden’s alleged attempts to gloss over the dangers of COVID-19, tweeted their outrage as well.
Dr. Lucky Tran, a science communicator affiliated with Columbia University, wrote, “After complaining for two years that it’s the ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated,’ the President did maybe the single worst thing anyone could do to lower vaccination rates: prematurely declare the pandemic is over.”
Tran, in a separate tweet, countered Biden’s claim with data from Johns Hopkins University showcasing an incline in COVID-19 deaths over the last 12 months.
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan voiced his disdain with the claim as well, writing, “One of the (many) reasons [people] are not wearing masks is because people like Biden keep (falsely) telling them the pandemic is over.”
Epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding wrote on Monday that the end of the pandemic is “not even close,” adding that “evolution of new virus variants [is] not done yet,” and “transmission is still very high” among others while activist and former Ohio state senator Nina Turner called the president’s claims “highly irresponsible and misleading.”