Local pharmacist responds to President’s statement

President Biden says "pandemic is over" in recent 60 Minutes interview

HIXSON, Tenn. (WDEF) — During Sunday night’s 60 Minutes season premiere, when asked if the pandemic was over, President Joe Biden quickly gained the nation’s attention.

“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. … But the pandemic is over,” Mr. Biden said.

On Twitter, many disagreed with President Biden, tweeting about current COVID cases and deaths.

Others questioned still-active vaccine and mask policies throughout the country.

In Hixson, pharmacist Jake Standefer says numerous advances made against COVID have the nation “on the right track.”

But despite the President’s optimism, he says residents should still take caution.

“At this time, we’re still in the public health emergency,” Standefer said. “[The United States Department of] Health and Human Services has got that through October and they’re supposed to give us a 60-day notice before that’s terminated. We haven’t seen that yet. I fully expect the public health emergency to be extended through January, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

Standefer says that COVID-19 is still “rampant” and many are still being hospitalized, adding that now isn’t the time to “lighten up.”

With the cold and flu season right around the corner, he wants to remind residents to be sure to receive all necessary protection needed to help fight off both COVID and influenza.

“Definitely get the vaccines and the boosters,” Standefer said. “Try to be vigilant about washing your hands and things like that. If you start having symptoms, the government is still paying for OTC COVID tests so definitely recommend testing and having some of those COVID tests in the medicine cabinet at home. Just try doing everything you can to try to reduce the spread of this virus.”

CBS News reported today that President Biden’s remark “contradicts statements” previously made by his own aides, who have urged Americans to seek out an updated booster.

This week in Hamilton County, the local health department is hosting a pair of vaccination events on Wednesday and Friday in Chattanooga and Hixson.

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