President Joe Biden on Wednesday hoped relief was coming for Americans still suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, even as the country passed a grim milestone for deaths from the virus in 2021.
“God willing, I think we’re just about to turn the corner again on the pandemic,” Biden said during an event on the White House complex.
Biden spoke about the pandemic as more than 353,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported since January 1, 2020, according to an ABC News story citing data from Johns Hopkins University, which is more than the 352,000 deaths in 2020.
The news breaks as fewer Americans trust Biden’s leadership on the pandemic than when he first took office.
A Morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday shows that only 43 percent of Americans say that Biden’s handling of the coronavirus is excellent or good. The majority of Americans, 52 percent, say Biden’s handling of the pandemic is either poor or fair.
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 27: U.S. President Joe Biden rolls up his sleeve before receiving a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the South Court Auditorium in the White House September 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. Last week President Biden announced that Americans 65 and older and frontline workers who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine over six months ago would be eligible for booster shots. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
The poll was conducted between Oct. 2-4 among a sample of 1998 registered voters.
Biden spent most of 2020 criticizing then-President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic, promising to do a better job protecting Americans from the virus.
He repeatedly mocked Trump’s claim that the country was “turning the corner” in the war against the virus.
“We’re not learning to live with it. We’re learning to die with it,” Biden said.
After he took office, Biden repeatedly promised to “follow the science” and lead the nation out of the pandemic as he worked to distribute the newly approved coronavirus vaccines across the country.
President Joe Biden takes off his mask as he arrives to speak about the coronavirus pandemic in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. The U.S. has donated and shipped more than 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 60 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Zambia, the White House announced Tuesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
By July 4th, Biden shared his optimistic view that the worst of the pandemic was behind him.
“Thanks to our heroic vaccine effort, we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,” he said, even while warning that it was not “vanquished.”
The spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, however, led to rising death tolls again, prompting the Centers for Disease Controls to reinstate masking and social distancing guidance.
Biden continues struggling to get the country fully vaccinated, announcing in September a plan to make businesses with fewer than 100 employees issue vaccine mandates for their workers.
“This is not about freedom or personal choice,” Biden said. “It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.”