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Joe Biden Declares 'the Pandemic Is Over' While Discussing the Nation's Ongoing COVID Struggles

People 9/19/2022 Amethyst Tate

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President Joe Biden declared the end of the pandemic, after nearly three years since the CDC confirmed the first coronavirus case in the United States.

"The pandemic is over," Biden said in an interview with CBS News' Scott Pelley that aired on 60 Minutes Sunday.

"We still have a problem with COVID," the president continued. "We're still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over."

Biden, 79, was speaking with Pelley following a visit together to the first Detroit Auto Show in three years, which the president attended to celebrate his help towards funding of charging stations for electric vehicles.

"If you notice, no one's wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it's changing," said Biden. "And I think this is a perfect example of it."

Coronavirus has lead to the death of more than 1 million people in the U.S., not to mention the social and economic impacts it has had across the population.

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The global pandemic was declared in March 2020, though the first COVID case in the US was reported in January 2020.

Just last week, the World Health Organization reported a historic low in worldwide deaths, NBC News reported. The U.S. averages 478 COVID-related deaths a day — an increase from early July, when COVID deaths were at its lowest rate ever (168 daily deaths the week).

"We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing Wednesday, NBC News reported. "We are not there yet, but the end is in sight."

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Biden's interview with 60 Minutes was conducted on Sept. 15, days before the president and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden traveled to the U.K. to visit the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II.

The interview was Biden's first on the broadcast as president. It was staged primarily in the Roosevelt Room of the White House (with a quick detour through the Oval Office), and served as a way to get candid responses from Biden about the state of affairs both abroad and at home, especially as he takes heat for rising prices that've strapped Americans thin.

During a visit to 60 Minutes headquarters, PEOPLE got an exclusive first look at the stories in the works this season as they go into their historic 55th season.

While explaining the topics he went in prepared to discuss with Biden, Pelley noted that his children — ages 27 and 30 — had not previously witnessed inflation like this in their lifetime, calling it "gravely disappointing" to see how severe it's gotten.

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The two went on to discuss topics including Russia's war on Ukraine, the midterm election in November, and running for office again.

Asked if it's normal to turn around such a high-profile interview in only three days, Pelley told PEOPLE it's the standard for a story entwined with current events: "It needs to be right on the news."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. 

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