I will end this,” then-candidate Joe Biden promised during his second presidential debate with President Donald Trump. “220,000 Americans dead — anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.”

Biden's presidency has now run as long as Trump had to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. And Biden has not ended it. Far from it — more than 365,000 people have died from the coronavirus under Biden, and it is only a matter of time before Biden’s death count surpasses Trump.

By his own metric, Biden has failed to protect the public from COVID.

We are not positing that Biden is in any way responsible for the 365,000 people who have died while he occupied the White House.

It is true that Biden laid the foundation of vaccine hesitancy when he questioned whether a vaccine developed by the Trump administration could be trusted. And he again undermined vaccination efforts when his administration foolishly halted the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As bad as both of these actions were, neither of them is to blame for COVID deaths. The reality is that there is an upper limit as to what governments can do to stop the spread of COVID.

Sure, if you are an island nation such as New Zealand or Singapore, you can ban all foreign travel and lock down your populace. Or if you are South Korea, you can empower the government to monitor everyone’s every movement and send people to jail who fail to comply with strict travel restrictions.

But those drastic measures were never really an option here or in most countries. The United States has a death rate very similar to Europe, and states with the same climates here in the U.S. have similar death rates even though their state governments pursued different COVID policies.

No, Biden’s COVID failure isn’t one of incompetence or ignorance but of hubris. He promised he could “end” the virus with an aggressive plan developed by the best scientists.

Instead, he has delivered government with empty gestures: an “emergency” vaccine mandate that took months to write after it was announced and then was again delayed till after Christmas, a travel ban on the source of the omicron variant when everyone knows it has already spread way beyond South Africa, and a self-quarantine on all international travel that even the Biden administration admits three-quarters of all travelers won't follow — all feckless attempts to appear to be doing something.

The reality is that no president will end COVID. As all viruses do over time, COVID will become more transmissible but less deadly, a better formula for replicating itself. Most likely, we will all be getting annual COVID boosters mixed in with our annual flu shots.

But Biden can’t admit this. It would fundamentally undermine his case against Trump. All he’d have left to run on is a chaotic southern border, record-high inflation, and rising murder rates. So, expect the COVID theater to continue — until Biden’s approval numbers improve.