In a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, President Joe Biden announced that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but many disagree. The Moderna Omicron-specific booster has resumed production and distribution.
The president puzzled epidemiologists, the public and members of his own administration with his remarks in an interview Sunday in which he declared that the pandemic is effectively over.
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. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everyone seems to be in pretty good shape, and so I think it’s changing, and I think [the Detroit auto show resuming after three years] is a perfect example of it.
NPR notes that the Biden administration is currently seeking an additional $22.4 billion from Congress for the fight against COVID-19 and the nation is logging hundreds of COVID-19 related deaths per day.
In Arizona, COVID-19 numbers are on the decline, but have not dropped significantly enough to call the pandemic “over.” The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) reported 3,999 cases this week, and hospitalizations are on the decline with only 2% of intensive care unit beds in use by COVID-19 patients.
Interim director of ADHS Don Herrington told KJZZ that we’re far off from solving the COVID-19 problem:
There’s no question that COVID-19 remains a state, national and global problem. The impacts have been far less as of late, thanks in part to widespread vaccination, but people continue to be hospitalized and die from COVID-19, particularly those who are older. Long COVID remains a concern for all ages.
Vaccines and Boosters
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a delayed supply of Moderna’s new bivalent COVID-19 booster shots that were withheld due to manufacturing issues at a factory in Indiana, according to Fierce Pharma. The FDA released notice on Tuesday that it cited 12 observations from a visit to a Catalent manufacturing facilities that had to do with quality control, record keeping and failure to follow procedures. It also noted a failure to address discrepancies in a batch of product. Catalent has stated that production at the facility has continued without interruption.
In Arizona, ADHS interim director Don Herrington addressed the limited supply of Moderna Omicron boosters in a post on the Director’s Blog, and encouraged Arizonans to choose the Pfizer booster in its stead.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised state health departments that the Moderna supply issues should be resolved in approximately two weeks.
However, there are ample supplies of the Pfizer Omicron booster, which is available to those 12 and older.
Arizona State University (ASU) College of Health Solutions has launched Evidence Commons, the first repository of published COVID-19 research focused on diagnostic tests and practices. According to PRNewswire, the Commons was established with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and holds more than 3,000 published papers for public use.