Bidenworld: We won the battle of Covid, we lost the political war

This is a measurable progress that Democrats once hoped would increase President Joe Biden’s popularity and his party’s mid-term chances. The only problem: voters have long since stopped caring.

“Of course we have,” he said. “There is no doubt about it.” “And it does not bring any benefit.”

The public’s dull interest in Covid may be related to the spread of other crises than the state of the pandemic. Inflation concerns have crossed the political landscape, shattered American optimism, and put the White House on defense. The Supreme Court may soon revoke abortion rights. And the debate over gun policy has taken on a new dimension after a series of mass shootings.

Yet White House aides and advisers who once believed the president’s approval ratings would improve as public health concerns eased are now expressing frustration over the sweeping pandemic that voters have chosen for Biden, hardly overwhelming voters. The Covid bump was never implemented.

“People attribute real success to Covid,” said Selinda Lake, co-author of one of Biden’s 2020 campaign surveys. “But Americans’ attention span is very short.”

How great an achievement Covid’s struggle was for the administration is, in itself, the subject of intense debate.

After successfully vaccinating the majority of the adult population last year, the White House has almost failed to convince half the population to return with their booster dose. Support for the federal response was scattered along guerrilla lines as officials struggled to combat Covid disinformation. And last July, the celebration of “independence” from the virus turned out to be painfully premature.

Since the United States suffered three overloads, the number of recent cases has again exceeded 100,000.

Yet even as parts of the nation are riddled with new infections, health officials have received signs that the country is heading towards a post-crisis era. The increase in cases over the past two months does not translate into a similar rise in Covid mortality – it boosts officials’ confidence that the US can live more safely with the virus.

Last week, the administration lifted recent travel restrictions and announced they were no longer needed. The long-awaited vaccines designed to protect younger children will be released next week.

This move has done little to improve Americans’ vision of a response to Covid, which, According to polls, Mostly static since March. Democrats in the Capitol, meanwhile, have debated whether it’s worth spending valuable time on the issue – even as the Republican blockade threatens to fund more Covids, destroying the federal response in the fall.

“Economic issues take precedence over everything else,” said a Democrat aide in the House of Commons. “People do not seem to be thinking about how Trump handled the pandemic against how he put the Biden administration on the road to recovery. They are just tired. ”

Within the administration, officials looking for ways to break the embarrassment have recently stepped up talk that the daily Covid mortality rate has dropped by 90 percent since Biden’s tenure.

The White House has also released the antiviral drug Paxlovid, a therapeutic agent that can dramatically reduce the risk of serious illness.

Yet, with the wider recognition that the nation’s focus has shifted, Biden officials and allies have begun to argue that it is actually good that society is paying less attention to Covid because it is a sign that the federal response will be largely successful.

“For the first time in a pandemic, COVID is no longer the killer it once was,” a White House spokesman said, noting that efforts to respond were “not being made” despite progress. “The fact that COVID does not govern our lives is not accidental.”

The spokesman also drew a contrast between the Biden administration’s efforts and the Trump response that preceded it: “Americans saw what a chaotic, policy-oriented COVID response looked like, and the president’s first day mission was to fight what it once was. – Generation crisis.

The bottom-up messages are in stark contrast to about a year ago, when Biden sought to capitalize on his administration’s initial progress by winning Independence Day.

The South Lawn speech – where Biden claimed he “gained the upper hand” over Covid – backfired when the virus returned a few days later, reinforced by the Delta variant. This event is now widely acknowledged within the administration as a damaging mistake and one that some allies believe cost Biden dearly.

The revival forced Republicans to become more skeptical of the vaccination campaign, and this raised doubts about the administration’s inclinations on a front where they deserved widespread approval. Over the next few months, there was a deep rift within the Democratic Party over how aggressively it was to fight the virus, which could no longer be completely eradicated.

“It took the wind away,” one administration official said on the Fourth of July. “They will never do it again.”

Since last summer, Biden officials have avoided trumpeting their response as a major success, nor have they noted that the fight could escalate at any moment. This reluctance continued even as Congress was forced to suspend funding for more Covids, raising the prospect that after 18 months of defeating the virus, the government may not be able to complete the work in the fall.

While the White House continues to advocate for the proposed $ 10 billion funding package, its Covid team has in recent weeks accelerated the planning of a scenario where it has to respond nationally with almost no money.

According to current forecasts, the government can only purchase as many new-generation vaccines that are in development to cover the country’s higher-risk population by the end of this year.

Basic monoclonal antibody treatment supplies are running out even earlier – including the treatment of immunodeficient patients, which may run out by November – forcing patients to seek them out in the commercial insurance market.

At the Department of Health and Human Services, officials are making plans to shift access to Covid vaccines and antiviral pills to the commercial market as early as next year, in anticipation that the stock will also dry up.

Instantly, the diminished chances of a funding deal sparked a new debate in some parts of the administration: more aggressively targeting Republicans for blocking legislation that would allocate more money if it halted hopes that Congress would eventually be able to compromise.

Until now, the White House has resisted attempts to take political advantage of the controversy. Some officials fear that all of this could lead to something far worse than the failure of political gains to contain the pandemic: if Covid’s massive rise in October is observed and the administration is not prepared, Biden could take all the blame.

“Funding is running out. “Political will is falling apart,” said Celine Gonder, an infectious disease specialist and editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News. “And then what do you do?”

Bidenworld: We won the battle of Covid, we lost the political war

Source link Bidenworld: We won the battle of Covid, we lost the political war

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