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President Biden says, pandemic is over; local health officials weigh in

More than two years into the global pandemic President Joe Biden declared ‘the pandemic is over during a recent interview with ’60 Minutes.’

“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID and we’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over,” said Biden during the interview.

The clip of President Biden saying the pandemic is over is raising a lot of eyebrows. Just scrolling through social media you can tell that some people don’t agree. Many say that their lives are still being altered due to the pandemic.

To see if the numbers add up to an ending, CBS Austin went to the experts.

“As far as what we’re seeing here in Austin, Travis County, we’re still seeing the effects of COVID-19 in our community,” said Austin’s health authority Dr. Desmar Walkes.

Although President Biden claims the pandemic has ended, here in Central Texas Austin Public Health says they’re still navigating under pandemic protocols.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had 310,648 total cases. We’ve had 17,145 people die from COVID-19 and two more since Friday of last week, so it’s still causing cases in our community,” Dr. Walkes said.

James Henson director of the Texas Politics Project says a poll conducted in late August and early September shows 21% of Texans believe the coronavirus is a significant crisis.

“You don’t want to say the President spoke out of turn per se but he certainly was not necessarily on message with the rest of his administration. I think that stuck out on the other hand, I think it likely came across as very common sensical to a lot of viewers,” he said.

39% said it’s a serious problem but not a crisis. And 17% believe it’s not a problem at all.

“ This probably is not going to be helpful in efforts to convey a sense of urgency about getting more vaccines now. You know, again, the President is not solely responsible for this, as we’ve seen, the overall sense of urgency has been declining pretty steadily,” said Henson.

The University of Texas Modeling Consortium tells CBS Austin coronavirus cases are currently at the lowest level since early May. In Travis County, only 75% of the population is vaccinated. 45% have received their first booster. They’re urging people not to shy away from vaccines or booster shots.

“For us to kind of make some completion we have to be very sure that this is going to be the last variant which no one is sure about,” said Dr. Oluwaseun Egbelowo/ UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

The consortium says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking a new variant. A big reason why local health officials are continuing to push messaging to get vaccinated and boosted.

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