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Biden kinda sorta declares the pandemic over — and gets his second booster shot

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Savor this moment because it’s as close as we’ll ever get to an official announcement that the pandemic’s over. The White House learned its lesson about COVID hubris the hard way last summer when Biden insisted on turning July 4th into an “independence from the virus” celebration — just as Delta was beginning to explode across the country.

They won’t repeat that mistake. COVID isn’t over, the president said today, explicitly. But as you’re about to see, his broader point was that the state of emergency around COVID is over.

Which means the pandemic’s over. Endemic COVID is here at last.

President Biden: “We’re now in a new moment in this pandemic. It does not mean that COVID-19 is over. It means that COVID-19 no longer controls our lives.” pic.twitter.com/os2SJBSd4q

— CSPAN (@cspan) March 30, 2022

The latest polling suggests that Americans certainly agree:

A big shift in the new Monmouth poll, with public support for masking/social distancing requirements well below July ’21 levels (when cases/deaths/hospitalizations were similarly low)https://t.co/D1d0T3DO2n pic.twitter.com/9vPXpfuno2

— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) March 28, 2022

The latest data points that way too. We’ve almost matched the record low number of COVID hospitalizations set last July, before the Delta wave emerged.

Today’s total of 17,000+ represents an almost 90 percent decline from the worst of the Omicron wave this past winter while daily deaths stand at their lowest level since last August. If in fact the pandemic stage of SARS-CoV-2 has ended, it will have happened with America just shy of a million people dead — 978,842 at last check, per Johns Hopkins. We’ll reach seven figures sometime in the next month or two.

Biden called today’s presser for two reasons, one of which was to announce the relaunch of COVID.gov. The site has been redone to bring it in line with the CDC’s new guidance tying masking and social distancing to community levels of transmission instead of national ones. Enter the name of your county and it’ll give you the relevant recommendations for your community; there are also links on where to find vaccines, tests,

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