- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2022

President Biden said Friday that he doesn’t believe the COVID-19 pandemic will be permanent for Americans, despite rising numbers and the surging omicron variant.

“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay,” Mr. Biden told reporters. “But having COVID in the environment here and around the world is probably here to stay. COVID, as we are dealing with it now, is not here to stay. The new normal doesn’t have to be.”

Mr. Biden’s remarks sought to reassure an increasingly anxious American public witnessing a wave of the omicron variant wreck havoc across the country.

Cases are soaring, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 705,264 new cases and a seven-day average of 586,391 on Wednesday, a big jump from 245,392 cases and a seven-day average of 176,505 just two weeks earlier.

Hospitals are dealing with staff shortages, and emergency rooms are being flooded as the increase in patients puts more strain on an already taxed health care system.

Schools across the country are moving to virtual learning and travelers over the holidays were forced to deal with a mess as thousands of flights were canceled.

Mr. Biden said new tools in development, including increased testing availability, will help the U.S. get a handle on rising cases.

“We are in the process of ordering 500,000 new tests and so we’re going to be able to control this,” he said. “The new normal is not going to be what it is now.”

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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