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U.S. President Biden says 'the pandemic is over' even as death toll, costs mount

U.S. President Joe Biden waves as first lady Jill Biden watches standing at the top of the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Sept. 17, 2022. (Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP) U.S. President Joe Biden waves as first lady Jill Biden watches standing at the top of the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Sept. 17, 2022. (Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP)
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WASHINGTON -

U.S. President Joe Biden said in an interview aired on Sunday that "the pandemic is over," even though the country continues to grapple with coronavirus infections that kill hundreds of Americans daily.

"The pandemic is over," Biden said during an interview conducted with CBS' "60 Minutes" program on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show, an event which drew thousands of visitors.

"We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lotta work on it. But the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one's wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it's changing."

The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic has diminished significantly since early in Biden's term when more than 3,000 Americans per day were dying, as enhanced care, medications and vaccinations have become more widely available.

But nearly 400 people a day continue to die from COVID-19 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Biden spent more than two weeks isolated in the White House after two bouts with COVID-19, starting in July. His wife Jill contracted the virus in August. Biden has said the mild cases were a testament to the improvements in care during his presidency.

Biden has asked Congress for US$22.4 billion more in funding to prepare for a potential fall case surge.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt. Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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