One of Joe Biden’s greatest political vulnerabilities going into next year is a mutating virus.
The voters don’t seem to appreciate President Biden’s achievements. big-dollar legislative accomplishments. He’s getting Polls show declining supportHis handling of the pandemic, even though he has signed trillions in funding for it and ensured that there were enough vaccines to cover everyone who needs them. His approval ratings have dropped to the 40s.
Americans have a tendency toDissatisfied with the status quothey want the pandemic over and that the economy stabilizes after months and months of fear about rising prices, supply chain disruptions, and price rises. They’re counting on Biden to get the virus under control and bring things back to normal, as he has promised to do. But a new COVID-19 variant threatens to drag the ordeal out longer, at a time when a quarter of eligible Americans still haven’t gotten their first vaccine shot.
That’s why as reports emerged in recent days about the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Biden’s White House took swift action. Biden placed a ban against travel to eight southern African countries on Friday after being briefed about the latest variant. Jen Psaki (White House Press Secretary) said reporters that scientists had conducted weeks-long tests in order to test the effectiveness of existing Omicron vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has increased its recommendation for everyone older than 18 years to receive a booster shot. In a further sign of urgency, Biden’s staff scheduled a televised address for the President to deliver on Monday to encourage more people to get vaccinated and reassure Americans his Administration was working to slow the spread of the variant and deploy additional government resources to respond.
Biden was seen in front a decorated mantle with Christmas garland, in the Roosevelt Room of The White House. His message appeared to have been intended to raise awareness but not alarm. The new variant is “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” Biden said. Biden highlighted the progress Americans have seen since he took office, asking viewers to think about how this year’s holiday season will be different from the socially distanced celebrations a year ago. In the last year, just 1% of Americans received a vaccine. The White House predicts that 71% of Americans will have been vaccinated by the end this year. The majority of American schools closed last year. Almost 100% of American schools now have their doors open.
Since new mutations are most likely to emerge from the coronavirus spreading among unvaccinated people, Biden urged Americans who haven’t been vaccinated to get the shot. A vaccine is the best protection against a COVID-19-related infection that can cause serious illness or death. He said that Americans would always be able to access the latest vaccines and they will do so for no cost. “Let me be clear, not a single vaccine shot America has ever sent to the rest of the world will ever come at the expense of any American,” he said. “I will always make sure our people are protected first.”
The steps that he made to end travel to several countries from southern Africa over the weekend were a temporary measure to give Americans extra time to get vaccines and allow those who are already vaccinated more time to obtain a vaccination.Booster shot. “Travel restrictions can slow the speed of Omicron, it cannot prevent it,” Biden said. “Here’s what it does: it gives us time.”
But while beating back the pandemic is a top priority—an urgent public health imperative as well as a political one—Biden is walking a fine line on the economy. Biden denied that we should return to days when schools were closed and locked down. “If people are vaccinated and wear their mask, there’s no need for lockdowns,” Biden said. These measures could not be achieved easily. Many Republican legislators have opposed vaccine mandates and mask mandates.
Biden promised to return to competency the White House in the wake of Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency, as well as to help the country get out of the pandemic. Although the economy is growing and there has been a drop in unemployment since Biden took office, a surge of demand has caused a strain on the supply chain which has led to higher prices and longer wait times. The White House is now doing what it can “to show competent management” and demonstrate that the Administration is “listening to public health advice,” says a former Biden Administration official still in touch with the White House.
The Omicron variant seems poised to be the latest test of Biden’s promise to steer the country out of crisis.