President Joe Biden said in a new interview that the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, stoking criticism from some critics over his administration's continued use of emergency policies.
"The pandemic is over," Biden told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired on Sept. 18.
"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," the Democrat added.
Biden was speaking at the Detroit Auto Show, the first time the event was held since the pandemic started.
The World Health Organization, part of the United Nations, declares pandemics. The agency has not said the pandemic is over.
Administration PoliciesDespite Biden's comments, his administration continues to treat the pandemic as an emergency.
Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, a Biden appointee, extended the public health emergency declaration on July 15, and the administration has given no signs that it plans to end the declaration, which was first entered in early 2020 under President Donald Trump.
The administration is also fighting legal battles over mask and vaccine mandates because, its lawyers have said, the mandates are needed to protect public health during the pandemic.
ReactionCritics said Biden's comments mean there should quickly be a change in policy from his administration.
"President Biden made a public statement tonight announcing that the Covid-19 pandemic is over. We expect for all testing, masking, & vaccine mandates to be removed first thing in the morning. We expect all EUA tests & vaccines to be removed from the market," Feds for Medical Freedom, a union that challenged the administration's vaccine mandate for federal workers, said in a statement.
"Since the pandemic is now 'over,' Biden must immediately cease his draconian mask and vaccine mandates for Americans," Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) added.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said that Biden's comments will likely be used by plaintiffs in cases concerning mask and vaccine mandates.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.