President Joe Biden said Friday that he does not believe the current surge in Covid-19 cases is the “new normal.”
“Covid, as we’re dealing with it now, is not here to stay,” Biden told reporters at the White House after making remarks on the December jobs report. “We’re going to be able to control this.”
“The new normal is not going to be what it is now. It’s going to be better,” he said. “We have so many more tools we’re developing and continuing to develop that will contain Covid and other strains of Covid.”
The rapid spread of the omicron variant has caused a spike in positive infections around the country in recent weeks. The U.S. hit 1 million new Covid cases Monday, according to data compiled by NBC News, underscoring the threat of the highly transmissible variant as the world heads into its third year of the pandemic.
The average number of new cases in the U.S. topped 590,000 on Wednesday, with an average of 1,349 deaths. More than 110,000 Covid patients are hospitalized around the country.
The president indicated that despite the dramatic uptick in numbers, the country is now better prepared to address the pandemic, compared to this time last year.
“Ninety percent of the schools are open now — was 98, it’s down to 90 — open now because we spent the time and the money in the Recovery Act to provide for the ability schools to remain open,” he said.
“We’re dealing with testing,” Biden added. “We’ve had 300 million tests per month so far.”
Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.