Speed Reads

move on, says mitch

McConnell continues to push COVID vaccination but says it's time to end the 'state of emergency'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that it's "time for the state of emergency" around COVID-19 "to wind down," Politico reported.

"What exactly are we doing here? Where are the goalposts? What's the end game?" McConnell asked.

McConnell also said that because "we know the vaccines do not prevent us from catching the current variant of the virus or transmitting it to others," there is "no moral justification for vaccine mandates," though he added that vaccines do "slash the odds of hospitalization" from the Omicron variant.

McConnell has been a consistent champion of the COVID vaccines. In September, McConnell released a 30-second ad in which he drew on his childhood battle with polio to encourage vaccination.

Yet despite McConnell's continued support of urging vaccines, he says he's now ready for the country to return to normal.

"Consider if this variant were its own separate virus that we were just meeting for the very first time without the scar tissue from the prior two years," McConnell said Wednesday. "Nobody would accept anywhere near this much disruption to fight the virus that we're actually facing right now."

According to The New York Times, 295,374 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Feb. 1, and around 2,600 people are dying from the virus every day.

New daily cases are down significantly from a peak of over 900,000 in mid-January but have not yet returned to pre-Omicron levels. Deaths are at their highest level since last winter, when the 7-day average number of daily deaths topped 3,000 for over a month.