Local pharmacist responds to President’s statement

President Biden said the pandemic was over in a recent 60 Minutes interview

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

“The pandemic is over. We still have an issue with COVID. We’re still working hard on that. … But the pandemic is over,” Mr. Biden said.

On Twitter, many disagreed with President Biden and tweeted about recent COVID cases and deaths.

Others questioned the still-active vaccination and mask policies across the country.

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

But despite the president’s optimism, he says residents should still exercise caution.

“At this point, we are still in the public health emergency,” Standefer said. “[The United States Department of] Health and Human Services has it until October and they’re supposed to give us 60 days notice before it ends. We haven’t seen that yet. I expect the public health emergency to be extended through January, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

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Standefer says COVID-19 is still “widespread” and many are still hospitalized, adding that now is not the time to “lighten up.”

With cold and flu season just around the corner, he wants to remind residents to get all the necessary protective measures needed to fight COVID and flu.

“By all means get the vaccines and the boosters,” Standefer said. “Try to be vigilant about washing hands and things like that. If you start having symptoms, the government still pays for OTC COVID testing, so definitely recommend testing and having some of those COVID tests at home in the medicine cabinet. Just try to do whatever you can to contain the spread of this virus.”

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

This week, the local Hamilton County Health Department is hosting two vaccination events in Chattanooga and Hixson on Wednesday and Friday.

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