Why the White House Is Moving Past Omicron
The Biden administration is ready to move on from omicron, with President Joe Biden and his top health officials signaling an impending “new normal” to condition Americans to live with the coronavirus.
“We are moving toward a time when COVID doesn’t disrupt our daily lives,” said one senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
“But in order to get people to view the pandemic differently, they have to feel differently about the pandemic.”
In the meantime, the Biden administration is focusing on expanding the vaccine supply to accelerate the transition to the next pandemic phase. Regulators are expected to authorize the vaccine for children under 5 within the next few months.
The administration is also bolstering new treatments like antiviral pills that are said to significantly mitigate the risk of serious illness.
The move comes as there’s a rising urgency within the White House to combat Biden’s dismal approval ratings. Administration officials believe that Biden’s popularity is closely tied to the public’s perception of the pandemic. So, they believe, as the omicron surge recedes, so will voters’ dissatisfaction with the Biden administration.
“The best political strategy is not to have it dominate the news every day,” said Leslie Dach, a former Obama-era senior health official and chair of Protect Our Care.
“You want a felt experience in November, where you’re back to leading a normal life and you feel like the president’s accomplished things and addressed the issues you care about.”