President Joe Biden said during a town hall event in Wisconsin Tuesday night he doesn’t know “for certain” when the pandemic — and its accompanying lockdowns and restrictions — might be over, claiming it could continue for another year.
He told CNN host Anderson Cooper he hopes the U.S. will be in a “very different place” by “next Christmas.”
“They tell me, ‘Be careful not to predict things that you don’t know for certain what’s going to happen, because then you’ll be held accountable,’” Biden said after the moderator asked when the pandemic “is going to be done.”
“By next Christmas, I think we’ll be in a very different circumstance, God willing, than we are today,” the president continued. “A year from now, I think that there will be significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced, having to wear a mask, but we don’t know. We don’t know for certain, but it is highly unlikely that, by the beginning of the next school year, traditional school year in September, we are not significantly better off than we are today.”
Biden went on to explain to Cooper he hopes the current number of vaccination doses purchased by the U.S. government will be enough to inoculate 70% of the country’s total population, which will, “God willing,” lead to herd immunity, he added.
The comment came just days after Biden announced the federal government purchased 200 million vaccine doses.
He noted he has been relying on his coronavirus task force, and, chiefly, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, when making decisions regarding the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Fauci said April will mark “open season” for any American who would like to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. However, in a CNN interview Tuesday, Fauci amended that prediction to say he believes most Americans won’t have access to a vaccine until late May or early June.
“Let’s say in May vaccines are going to be widely available to almost anybody,” Fauci said. “But it may take until June, July, and August to finally get everyone vaccinated. So when you hear about how long it’s going to take to get an overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated, I don’t think anybody disagrees that’s going to be well into the end of the summer and we get in the early fall.”
Biden’s comments about the ultimate end of the pandemic comes as he’s facing pressure from Democrats and Republicans over his unwillingness — at least so far — to stand up to teachers’ unions around the country whose leaders are holding educators and children hostage for more money, refusing to return to the classroom despite the fact that the overwhelming amount of scientific research suggests it’s safe to do so.