Biden White House eschews lockdowns, focuses on economy as omicron cases spike

Many Democrats have spent the last two years loudly pushing for lockdowns and other restrictive measures meant to combat the spread of COVID-19. But amid the rise of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, it seems the Biden White House is ready to take a different approach.

Writing Sunday, the Washington Examiner‘s Christian Datoc cited a senior Biden aide who promised the White House would avoid lockdowns as Americans worry that spikes in COVID-19 cases could decimate the economy just as it’s starting to recover from the early stages of the pandemic.

“We’re not going to lock down,” the source told the Examiner. “That’s the big message that [Biden] continues to convey.”

No “noticeable impact”

Writing for the Examiner, Datoc also cited economist Nancy Vanden Houten, who noted that promising job numbers and a booming stock market suggest that spiking omicron case counts are having little impact on the economy.

“So far, we haven’t seen a noticeable impact from omicron on labor market data, at least in terms of the claims data,” she said.

“I think businesses are striving to remain open, particularly given the evidence that omicron produces milder symptoms,” the economist added.

“Out of proportion”

Even Dr. Anthony Fauci has begun to sound a more optimistic note, as Datoc reports for the Examiner. “The spike in cases is out of proportion to the increase in hospitalization,” the senior health official said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“We must remember that hospitalizations and deaths are lagging indicators,” Fauci added.

“However,” he said, “the pattern and disparity between cases and hospitalization strongly suggest that there will be a lower hospitalization-to-case ratio when the situation becomes more clear.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky sounded a similar note. “Early indications that we’ve seen from other countries like South Africa and United Kingdom of milder disease from omicron, especially among the vaccinated and the boosted,” she stressed, according to the Examiner.

Americans under pressure

A decision by the Biden administration to avoid another round of damaging lockdowns would no doubt come as welcome news to most Americans, who are already struggling with rising gas prices and the worst inflation numbers seen in decades.

Only time will tell if the president actually keeps his word this time around.

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