Journalist lists several key reasons why Biden’s COVID-19 response is seriously underrated: 'Credit where credit is due'

Journalist lists several key reasons why Biden’s COVID-19 response is seriously underrated: 'Credit where credit is due'

During his first year as president, Joe Biden has been quite aggressive and proactive in his response to the COVID-19 pandemic — giving Dr. Anthony Fauci free rein, encouraging vaccines and booster shots and issuing a vaccination/testing mandate (which the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled against in January). Fauci hasn’t had to walk on eggshells the way he did under former President Donald Trump; like President Barack Obama, President Ronald Reagan, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush, Biden has valued the 80-year-old immunologist’s expertise.

After two years of masks, restrictions and social distancing, however, many Americans are feeling frustrated — and Biden continues to suffer from weak approval ratings. But journalist Robert Gebelhoff, in an opinion column published by the Washington Post on February 2, lays out some reasons why he believes that Biden’s COVID-19 response is seriously underrated and the president deserves more credit than he’s been getting.

“There are legitimate reasons that a majority of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic,” Gebelhoff argues. “Most of them begin with a Greek letter no one ever wanted to learn. Since the Omicron variant emerged late in the fall, the public has discovered how our testing infrastructure is just as inadequate as ever, how our health-care systems remain stretched paper-thin and how our public health officials are still making critical errors in moments of crisis.”

Gebelhoff continues, “Nonetheless, criticism of the (Biden) Administration’s pandemic performance has gotten out of hand, and it’s time for some recalibration. Yes, Biden’s COVID-19 strategy has been far from perfect. But he has proved that he is willing to gamble on bold — often controversial — policies, and some of his bets have paid huge dividends. So, let’s pause to give credit where credit is due.”

Gebelhoff goes on to give some reasons why he considers Biden’s COVID-19 response underrated.

“First and foremost,” Gebelhoff writes, “Biden insisted that booster shots should be available to most Americans…. Biden and his team saw the warning signs that immunity was waning among the vaccinated and acted decisively. There’s no doubt the Omicron surge would have been worse if they had not made additional shots broadly available. For that, Americans owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Reason #2, Gebelhoff adds, is that Biden “pushed vaccine mandates.” And Reason #3, according to the columnist, is that the Biden Administration’s “guidelines were critical to returning children to classrooms.”

“Here, the (Biden) Administration stumbled early, issuing guidance that was hard for schools to implement,” Gebelhoff explains. “But eventually, it changed course in response to new data. Despite a backlash from some parents and teachers’ unions, its guidance made it easier to return kids to in-person learning…. Today, the vast majority of schools are operating in person, as is essential.”

Gebelhoff continues, “None of this negates valid criticisms, of course. Some say the Administration has been plagued with communication issues, such as when it backtracked on its masking recommendations for vaccinated Americans. It’s a reasonable complaint, though I challenge anyone to craft perfect messaging while facts are constantly changing in an emergency.”

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