President Joe Biden raised eyebrows over the weekend with a bold declaration on "60 Minutes."
"The pandemic is over," the president said during an interview. "We still have a problem with COVID, we’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over."
That's an assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak that doesn’t square with the facts.
The World Health Organization's top official, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said clearly just days ago: "We're not there yet, but the end is in sight."
The president’s own chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday, "We are not where we need to be if we’re going to be able to quote 'live with the virus.'"
Still it's the most hopeful the World Health Organization’s leaders have sounded since the start of the virus' spread in late 2019.
"We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic," said Ghebreyesus.
Leaders from the Oval Office to statehouses celebrated.
But the CDC says the virus is still killing 360 people a day in the U.S. — the lowest we’ve seen since July and far from winter peaks.
Yet, it's still higher than the lulls of mid-2021.
Infectious disease experts warn colder weather could again spike the spread, though vaccines will soften the blow.
Meanwhile the economic mayhem from the global shutdown lingers. World leaders are still grappling with how to navigate out of the storm.
It's a key focus for the U.N. General Assembly this week.
"We meet at the moment of great peril for our worlds: The ongoing effects of a global pandemic. Lack of access to finance for developing countries to recover. A crisis not seen in a generation," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.
Even White House COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha and second gentleman Doug Emhoff masked up just Friday to get COVID booster shots.
"This is a new formulation that we want all Americans to get right now over the age of 12," said Emhoff.
They're setting an example for millions of Americans being asked to give the fight against COVID a final push across the finish line.
"Let’s make sure we’re playing the game until the very end," said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.
"A marathon runner does not stop when the end comes into view," said Ghebreyesus. "She runs harder with all the energy she has left. So must we."