President Biden delivers remarks in the State Dining Room at the White House on November 9.

President Biden delivers remarks in the State Dining Room at the White House on November 9. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Coronavirus Roundup: Biden Says the Pandemic ‘No Longer Controls Our Lives’

There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s a list of this week’s news updates and stories you may have missed.

During his remarks on Wednesday evening to address the results of the midterm elections thus far, President Biden said, “After 20 months of hard work, the pandemic no longer controls our lives. It’s still a concern, but it no longer controls our lives.” 

This comes after Biden said during a “60 Minutes” interview in September, “the pandemic is over,” and Republicans called on the administration to roll back COVID-19 policies. While the final election results are not known yet, it looks like the Republicans will take over the House, although they aren’t having the red wave they expected, which will lead to various Republican-led investigations related to COVID-19.

“Republicans will push to dismantle a number of lingering pandemic policies, with the U.S. military's vaccine mandate among the priorities, according to multiple GOP aides,” Axios reported on Nov. 7. “The effort to topple the mandate is expected to include scrutiny of the process for granting religious exemptions and, if necessary, a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act to fully rescind it.” 

A Republican-led House and possibly Senate (which is still a toss-up), will also likely further complicate the Biden administration's bid to receive additional COVID-19 funding, which Biden officials have been seeking for months. Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed. 

The Labor Department’s watchdog has many pandemic related reviews planned for fiscal 2023, some mandatory, some discretionary, as shown in its recently released work plan. Some of them include: the adequacy of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s planning for future pandemics, the Employment and Training Administration’s oversight of unemployment insurance programs authorized by the CARES Act, and the pandemic’s impact on the department’s Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program and the effectiveness of the program’s training during a health crisis. 

Dr. Robert Califf, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend while traveling for official business, the agency announced on Monday. He is experiencing mild symptoms. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recovered from her COVID-19 case this week.

The U.S. Agency for International Development awarded over $870,000 to 15 higher education institutions to study the impacts of COVID-19 in Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar, Senegal, Serbia, South Africa, Uganda and Vietnam, the agency announced on Wednesday. 

The Indian Health Service is expanding its use of telehealth services to serve their patients. “The IHS has a long history of using telehealth to meet its mission and the needs of its patients, dating back to the mid-1970s,” said a press release from the agency. “In 2020, IHS significantly expanded the use of telemedicine, rapidly ramping up virtual care services from a pre-COVID average of under 1,300 per month to a peak of nearly 42,000 per month at the height of the initial pandemic surge.” 

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