President Joe Biden seemed to offer mixed messages on COVID Friday during a news conference on the latest jobs report, saying the coronavirus is not here to stay, even as he suggested that in another sense, it might be.
In the news conference, he said COVID-19 “as we’re dealing with it right now, is not here to stay,” though he then offered an odd addendum that it probably is here to stay in the environment.
“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay, but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay,” Biden said in response to a question from NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander, according to the Washington Examiner.
His next comments focused on efforts to contain and control a disease that, far from vanishing, continues to morph into new variants, like the fast-spreading omicron that is causing a massive spike in infections.
“COVID, as we’re dealing with it now, is not here to stay. The new normal doesn’t have to be — we have so many more tools we’re developing and continuing to develop that will contain COVID and other strains of COVID.”
He added that the country is “very different today than we were a year ago.”
Biden said, “Even though we still have problems, 90% of the schools are open now. It was 98. It’s down to 90, but they’re open now because we spent the time and the money in the Recovery Act to provide for the ability for schools to remain open.”
He added, “What we’re doing now is [what] we talked about, you know, how we’re dealing with testing. Well, you know, we have been doing now, we’ve had 300 million tests per month so far, and that’s 11 million tests a day. In addition to that, we’re in the process of supporting 500 million new tests.
“We’re going to be able to control this,” he said. “The new normal is not going to be what it is now. It’s going to be better.”