WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The White House COVID-19 coordinator is warning that the pandemic could get really bad again if we don’t take action.
His remarks come as a spokeswoman for the First Lady revealed she tested positive for coronavirus. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden offered a quick update when reporters asked how his wife is feeling.
“Good. She’s feeling well,” Biden said.
This comes just days after the president recovered from the virus himself.
Both instances serve as high-profile reminders that the pandemic is still ongoing.
That point was also made by White House COVID coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha when he talked with the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. He says while the U.S. is in a better place than before, there are still hundreds of people dying from the virus each day.
He also argued that we can’t just forget about COVID-19.
“If we do nothing and just sort of hope for the best, I think we could end up getting into a lot of trouble,” Jha said.
To prevent that the Biden administration is facilitating the development of a new variant specific vaccine, which could be ready as early as next month.
“It’s going to be really important that people this fall and winter get the new shot,” Jha said.
He also says it’s critical for schools and businesses to update their indoor ventilation and for COVID-19 treatments, masks, and testing to be widely available.
“If we do all of those things I am confident we keep every business open, we keep every school open, we don’t have to have hospitals that are overwhelmed and can’t take care of other people,” Jha said.
Long term, Jha says he thinks the U.S. government shouldn’t be the one funding the COVID-19 fight. Instead, he argues that treatment and prevention should become part of the commercial healthcare system.