Local health official weighs in after Biden states that COVID-19 pandemic ‘is over’

Though cases have been on the downturn, NHC Pandemic Operations Manager Jon Campbell says it isn't quite over.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 6:07 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - President Joe Biden caused a stir among health leaders after he said that the COVID-19 pandemic was over during an appearance on 60 Minutes.

“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it, but the pandemic is over,” Biden said.

But is it really over?

“While we have seen different government agencies loosening up restrictions, such as the CDC, it is important to note that it hasn’t officially been declared over by the World Health Organization.” said Jon Campbell, pandemic operations manager of New Hanover County.

When it comes to our local data, there is some good news. Per Centers for Disease Control statistics, the rate of COVID cases for September 11-18 was 138.6 per 100,000 people, compared to a peak rate of around 600 in the early months of 2022. The county currently has a low CDC COVID-19 Community Level.

The NHC Health and Human Services department still recommends vigilance. Campbell says they tend to see increases in COVID cases and upper respiratory infections around the start of the school year. Per CDC guidance, people should get tested if they feel sick and take preventative measures like getting vaccinated and boosted to keep themselves and others safe.

COVID-19 cases and deaths in New Hanover County, per the CDC
COVID-19 cases and deaths in New Hanover County, per the CDC(CDC)

Testing, vaccinations and boosters are all available for free from the DHHS, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington continues to offer vaccinations, the latest boosters, and testing on campus.

Also, UNCW has announced that they are offering the updated booster for students, faculty, staff and their family members. The university encourages people who do not have the transportation to receive the shot off campus to take advantage of the convenience of having it nearby.