White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said that the United States government “is not going to control the coronavirus pandemic” but will instead ensure that the country gets vaccines and therapeutics, CNN reported.

“We are not going to control the pandemic,” Meadows told the news channel. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas. What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don’t die from this.”

Meadows noted that the coronavirus was a contagious virus, just like the flu, and said: “We’re going to defeat it, because we’re Americans.”

The top White House official’s comments came amid a surge of coronavirus cases in the country. The disease has also affected several top White House officials.

On Saturday, the chief of staff to United States Vice President Mike Pence and four other officials associated with his election campaign tested positive for the infection. The vice-president, who tested negative for the infection, continued his election campaign on Sunday, according to Reuters.

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden criticised Meadows’ remark, saying that the administration had “given up on even trying to control this pandemic”. “They’ve given up on their basic duty to protect the American people,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

He added: “This wasn’t a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgement of what President [Donald] Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn’t, and it won’t.”

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and others related to his campaign had tested positive for the virus. Later, the country’s top health expert Anthony Fauci said that the White House held a “super spreader event” in September, referring to the celebration for Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The US is the world’s worst coronavirus-affected country. It has reported over 86 lakh cases and more than 2.25 lakh deaths so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University.