On July 4, 2021, President Joe Biden said a lot of things about America’s struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic that didn’t age well. “Thanks to our heroic vaccine effort, we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,” was one of his statements. On Jan. 3, 2022, the United States hit a record one million daily COVID cases, and the following day Biden appeared to admit defeat – without directly saying it. Instead, during a televised Jan. 4 address, Biden seemed very much to be passing on the responsibility for ending the virus to the American people.
As was to be expected, Biden touted the vast numbers of vaccines, booster shots, and now pills from Pfizer his administration had purchased and distributed or was about to purchase. That was not his message, though; it was merely a predictable exercise in politicking. What he really conveyed to the nation, in paraphrase, was, “I’ve done all I can. It’s now up to you to stop – or at least survive – COVID.”
It’s Not Me, It’s You
Gone was the talk of how he was going to “shut down the virus” – a pledge made by then-candidate Biden in an Oct. 30, 2020, tweet. Also, notably absent was any mention of the federal vaccine mandates that have been stymied at every turn by the courts. Instead, the chief executive told Americans to brace for impact: “We’re gonna see, as you all been hearing [sic], a continued rise in cases.” He went on to repeat his curious claim that COVID was “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” ignoring the rising number of “breakthrough cases” among the vaccinated – borne out by the fact that infections are skyrocketing in the United States and European countries where a majority of adults have received their shots and a significant percentage are now also boosted.
Even though he took a jab – pun intended – at those who have so far declined the COVID shots, at least Biden appeared to have given up on insisting the vaccinated do not spread the virus. This is a departure from even recent statements by the president. “Everybody talks about freedom and not to have a shot or have a test,” he told an Ohio TV station on Dec. 14. “Well guess what? How about patriotism? How about making sure that you’re vaccinated, so you do not spread the disease to anyone else?”
It does not take a mathematician or an epidemiologist to know that if the unvaccinated were solely responsible for transmitting the virus, then the spread would slow in relation to the rising percentage of vaccinated people. It almost appears the opposite is happening – though, for the sake of scientific accuracy, one should exercise caution in assuming a connection.
The Evolution of Surrender
After also implying that the states were responsible for the ongoing health crisis because they had not made full use of the resources provided to them, Biden concluded his 12-minute address on Jan. 4 by advising people to “please take advantage of what we already have, OK?” And that was a virtual equivalent of raising the white flag.
Note the progression since just before the 2020 election: “I’m going to shut down the virus” evolved into “There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level,” and then to “We’re gonna see … a continued rise in cases.” The larger point, of course, is that there never was a federal solution to the pandemic, but as a presidential candidate, Biden clearly asserted that there was – indeed, that he was the solution. Now, however, he has been reduced to reciting how much money his administration has spent to combat the virus and pleading with Americans to wear masks and get vaccinated.
“Today we’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus,” Biden said during his speech last year to commemorate America’s Independence Day. Much like the commander-in-chief himself, that assertion did not age well.
~ Read more from Graham J. Noble.