Biden's Claims About Omicron Transmission and South Africa Are Demonstrably False

Joe Biden gave a speech Tuesday, announcing a major expansion in federal government involvement in COVID-19 testing and more, but took the opportunity to both scold those who spread what he calls “fake news” and spread a bit of fake news himself.

Addressing a question about what he would say to Americans who are trying to get tested now and who are not able to get tested and who are wondering what took so long to ramp up testing, Biden first hit back:

Come on. What took so long?

Then he went to one of his other standbys of denying that something happened. Really, the ramp-up in testing capacity is unnecessary because we are testing far too many asymptomatic people, but here is what Biden had to say:

Well, what took so long is, it didn’t take long at all. What happened was, the Omicron virus spread more rapidly than anybody thought. If I told you four weeks ago that this would spread by – on a day-to-day basis that it would spread by 50, 100 percent, 200 percent, 500 percent, I think you would have looked at me and said, “Biden, what are you drinking?” But that’s what it did.

Leaving aside the fact that we often wonder what Biden is drinking, his contentions on how transmissible Omicron is and how quickly it’s spread throughout the United States are a little nuts. We know that the Omicron variant is much more transmissible than other variants, but according to the latest CDC data, the number of Omicron variant cases in the United States increased sixfold in the last week and now accounts for 73 percent of COVID-19 cases in the country.

CDC COVID Tracker Variant Proportions, December 12-18, 2021

However, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose only 1.5 percent week-over-week, according to the CDC’s Weekly Tracker.

Rolling 7-Day New COVID-19 Cases, SOURCE: CDC

According to Biden, there’s only “some evidence” out of South Africa that “it” is dropping off quickly. What the “it” is that Biden’s referring to, though, isn’t clear.

Now, we don’t know what’s gonna happen from here. There’s some evidence that in South Africa, where a lot of this started, that it’s dropping off quickly too. We don’t know.

What we do know is that across South Africa there are massive week-over-week declines in new COVID-19 cases, the vast majority of which are the Omicron variant.

And, as RedState’s Scott Hounsell has been noting for nearly a month, according to data from South Africa and compared with data from other countries, Omicron has not shown to be more deadly than other variants even among the unvaccinated. So, yes, Mr. Biden, we do know what is happening in South Africa, and we’ll undoubtedly see the same pattern here.